Season-opening games usually tend to be objects of mystery for players and coaches.
Given the final score of Friday night's men's basketball game between Hillsdale College and Malone University, Chargers head coach John Tharp had to be thrilled at what he discovered about his team.
Hillsdale poured it on the Pioneers in the second half, running away with an 85-53 win in a game played at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.
The Chargers were simply devastating in the second half, outscoring Malone 49-23 while shooting a blazing 59 percent from the floor. Hillsdale nudged its way out to a 36-30 lead at halftime, but took over at both ends of the floor in the second half.
Hillsdale held Malone to 37.5 percent shooting for the game while also enjoying a 43-28 rebounding advantage. That combination usually spells winning in the sport of basketball.
One player who was on his A-game was junior Ryan Badowski. He was on fire all night, setting a new career-high with 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field. He drained six 3-point baskets, and was the kind of offensive threat that could make the Chargers very tough to defend this year.
Redshirt-freshman guard Dylan Lowry made an impressive collegiate debut, making all six of his shots from the floor while scoring 15 points in 17 minutes off the bench. A long-armed, crafty guard, Lowry made both of his free throws in statistically, a perfect offensive game in his first action in Charger blue.
Senior Rhett Smith had 14 points and 4 rebounds in his return to the court after sitting out the 2015-16 season as a redshirt. Junior Stedman Lowry, Dylan's older brother, added 11 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore guard Nate Neveau piled up 6 points, 3 assists, 4 steals and 7 rebounds in a fine all-around performance.
UP NEXT: The Chargers face future G-MAC foe Ohio Valley at 5 p.m. Saturday in Canton.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Klopfer