March 2, 2013 – The Croy Gymnasium is one of the toughest venues for visiting teams in all of NCAA Division II basketball, and the Hillsdale College men's basketball team saw that firsthand Saturday afternoon.
With a barrage of 3-point baskets over the last eight minutes of the first half, the Oilers exploded for a 29-11 run that resulted in a 74-66 win over the Chargers in the regular season finale for both teams. Hillsdale will enter the GLIAC Tournament with an overall record of 17-9 and 13-9 in the conference.
The team will play on the road Wednesday evening, with its opponent and game location not yet known.
The Chargers opened the game impressively, taking leads of 7-0, 15-7 and 20-12 through the first 12 minutes of the contest. The team was rebounding and making shots in exactly the manner a team trying to win on the road would. But the Oilers have a well-earned reputation for being a nearly impossible out on their home court, and it's often a matter of "when," not "if," the team will feed off the energy of a sellout crowd to go on an extended scoring run.
After missing five of their first six 3-point shots, the Oilers closed the first half making seven of their last nine, flipping the initial eight-point deficit into a 41-31 halftime lead. During one stretch, the Oilers made five 3-point shots on five different possessions, and one of those turned into a four-point play.
The Chargers fought back in the second half, and trimmed the lead to as little as four points in the final six minutes, but Findlay salted the game away at the free throw line. The Oilers made nine of their last 10 free throw attempts over the game's final 109 seconds to hold off Hillsdale.
As a team, Findlay went 22-for-25 from the charity stripe (88 percent), compared to 13-for-20 for the Chargers (65 percent). Hillsdale held a big edge on the boards, 38-29, but the Chargers were only able to force eight Findlay turnovers in the ballgame.
Junior forward Tim Dezelski had another very productive game for Hillsdale, leading the team with 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals in 37 minutes on the court. Juniors Brandon Pritzl and Tony Nelson each scored nine for the Chargers. Findlay's Greg Kahlig led all players with 27 in the game.