January 24, 2013 - The beginning and end of Thursday night's GLIAC game between Hillsdale College and Malone University are times the Chargers would rather forget.
In the first-ever conference matchup between these new South Division foes, the Pioneers blitzed the Chargers at the start and finish of their 79-58 win in Canton, Ohio. Malone is now 10-6 overall and has tied Hillsdale for second place in the South Division with an 8-5 conference mark.
Malone and fellow GLIAC newcomer Walsh University are not eligible to qualify for the 2013 GLIAC basketball tournament. The rule is in place for just this first season of conference membership for the Canton newcomers.
Hillsdale will host Walsh at 1 p.m. Saturday in the team's first home game with students on campus since Dec. 1.
The Pioneers were throwing everything in at the start of the game. The home team piled up a 23-11 lead just eight minutes into the game, making nine of its first 10 shots from the floor and four straight 3-point shots.
The Chargers were able to tighten the gap in the first half, closing to within four points, 28-24, midway through the first half. But Malone prevented Hillsdale from mounting any kind of sustained run at any point in the contest.
The Pioneers maintained a double-digit lead through most of the second half, but the Chargers cut the lead to eight points, 66-58, with two minutes to play. Malone silenced any chances for a Hillsdale comeback, finishing the game on a 13-0 flourish, which included a 3-point shot while up 18 with 19 seconds to play. Hillsdale missed its final six field goal attempts and both of its free throw attempts in the final 120 seconds.
Malone also made Hillsdale pay for every mistake in the game. The Pioneers held a 15-4 scoring edge in points off turnovers. Malone made three more 3-point field goals on seven fewer attempts than Hillsdale, and the Chargers were outscored by 10 points at the free throw line (18-8).
One bright spot for Hillsdale was the play of junior guard Brandon Pritzl, who set a new season-high with 19 points. His five 3-point field goals were a career-best, and he had four rebounds.
Big men Nick Washburn and Tim Dezelski each scored 12 points. Dezelski had 10 in a row himself in the first half that helped pull Hillsdale back into the game after Malone's sizzling start. He also had six rebounds and three steals for the Chargers.