Like a train coming in the distance, fans of the Hillsdale College men's basketball team could see a shooting performance from senior Anthony Manno coming. It wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when.
When happened Thursday night.
Manno went wild, swishing six first-half 3-point shots on his way to a career-high 24 points as Hillsdale College notched its first-ever GLIAC win over the Malone University Pioneers 86-71 at the Hillsdale College Arena.
The Chargers, the hottest team in the GLIAC, have won 11 of their last 12 games and are 13-4 overall, 9-4 in conference play. The team plays its next three games on the road, starting with a Saturday showdown with South Division-leading Walsh University in Canton.
Manno has already proven to be a deadly shooter from 3-point range, and part of Hillsdale's offense is designed to get him open looks. The plan worked to perfection throughout a dazzling first-half shooting display by the fifth-year senior that saw him score 20 points.
Manno finished the game 6-for-8 from 3-point territory, while also making all four of his free throws in a brilliant performance. The Chargers entered halftime in command, with a 16-point lead, but the Pioneers didn't wilt quietly.
Malone cut the lead to six on two occasions, but each time, the Chargers counter-punched with more timely shooting. The first time the margin reached six, Kyle cooper hit a 3-pointer to quickly halt momentum. Cooper hit another jumper to extent a seven-point lead to nine with 5:23 to play, and the Chargers cruised from there.
Hillsdale was plus-10 on the boards and finished 15-for-27 from 3-point land in the game as a team.
Cooper scored 20 points while taking just six shots from the field, making five of them. He also snagged 4 rebounds and had 4 assists and 2 blocked shots.
Senior Tim Dezelski received plenty of attention from the Malone defense, but still found a way to score 15 points with 6 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists. Many of those assists resulted in 3-point baskets for Manno.