January 26, 2013 - This one got away.
In an intense and well-played first GLIAC men's basketball game between new South Division rivals Hillsdale College and Walsh University, the visiting Cavaliers stole a big win from the Chargers, 75-73, Saturday afternoon at Jesse Philips Arena.
The loss, the second straight for Hillsdale, drops the team to 13-6 overall and 8-6 in the GLIAC, while Walsh moves up into second place in the division and is 8-5 in the conference.
It was a bitter defeat for Hillsdale, who led by as many as 10 points with less than three minutes to play. But those last three minutes saw everything go Walsh's way, and everything work against Hillsdale.
The Cavaliers finished the game on a 14-2 run that spanned just 2:43. Hillsdale's Ryan Choiniere got a long pass in the final five seconds, and appeared to be hit on the arms as he attempted a final shot, but no foul was called, giving the Cavaliers a stunning victory.
In the game's final three minutes, the Chargers missed three shots and committed three turnovers, while Walsh nailed two 3-point shots and made its last five straight shots from the floor. It was one of those finishes that needed many things to go a certain way, in order, in order for the Cavaliers to win, and they made every one of them work in their favor.
Before the game's final five seconds, Walsh's latest lead came 2:48 into the first half, and the score was 8-7.
The Chargers held a comfortable lead throughout most of the contest and led by 12 at halftime. The lead grew to as large as 18 in the opening moments of the second half, and the Cavaliers were within less than 10 on just two occasions before the fateful final three minutes.
Hillsdale shot 6 percent better from the field than Walsh, and made seven 3-pointers compared to five for the visitors. But the Cavaliers did a much better job on the boards in the second half, collecting 10 of their 11 offensive rebounds for the game in the final 20 minutes. Hillsdale also missed seven free throws, including the front end of a 1-and-1 on two pccasions inside the game's last 10 minutes.
Five players scored in double figures for the Chargers, led by 18 from senior center Nick Washburn. He was hampered by foul trouble for much of the game, but was enormously effective when he was on the floor, going 6-for-9 in 23 minutes. He drained two 3-pointers and had four rebounds and two blocked shots.
Junior Tim Dezelski had a fine all-around contest, shooting 63 percent from the field and had 14 points, eght rebounds, six assists and a steal. Junior Brandon Pritzl scored 14, junior Darius Ware had 11, and junior Tony Nelson came off the bench to score 10, all in the first half.
Hillsdale is off until next Saturday, Feb. 2, when it hosts the University of Findlay at 1 p.m.