As early as it may be to characterize one game as a "win of the year" candidate, Thursday night's thriller in Allendale easily qualifies.
The Hillsdale College men's basketball team took home its fourth straight win, edging the previously undefeated Grand Valley State University Lakers 68-66. The Chargers, winners of four straight, are now 6-3 overall and 2-3 in the GLIAC, and will face Ferris State in Big Rapids Saturday afternoon.
A 15-5 run early in the second half helped erase a five-point halftime deficit for the Chargers. After a 7-0 run, Hillsdale was in control, leading 58-51 with 8:49 to go, when the Lakers came back, forcing the game to be played as tightly as can be down the stretch.
Although the margin never grew greater than four points in the game's final 5 minutes, the Chargers never surrendered the lead, answering every made field goal and free throw by the Lakers during crunch time.
Between the 3:00 mark and the 9 second mark, the Chargers made 8 out of 10 foul shots, which came from four different players: Kyle Cooper, Tim Dezelski, Brandon Pritzl and Tony Nelson. It was fitting that four different players stepped up with those big shots, given the balance the Chargers had in their lineup in the win.
Three players scored between 15 and 16 points, led by 16 from Pritzl and Dezelski. Pritzl, in particular, was efficient on offense by going 5-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-6 from 3-point land.
Cooper added 15 points and 2 blocked shots for Hillsdale, while Nelson (pictured) had a nice all-around game with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 25 minutes.
This marks the second time in a row Hillsdale has defeated the Lakers in Allendale in the regular season. GVSU hasn't beaten the Chargers at home since the 2009-10 season.