A young Hillsdale College men's basketball team grew up a little bit Friday afternoon.
Minutes into its game against Carson-Newman, the Chargers were getting outscored 10-0 and outrebounded 7-0. In an unfamiliar environment, against an undefeated opponent, the Chargers had every reason to panic.
Instead, the team responded with balanced, mature play and pulled out an impressive victory.
Hillsdale handed Carson-Newman its first loss of the season with a 73-61 victory in Owensboro, Kentucky on the day after Thanksgiving. The Chargers, 4-1 on the season, are back in action on the campus of Kentucky Wesleyan College Saturday against an opponent yet to be determined.
The Chargers' early 10-point deficit happened so fast, it didn't seem real. But a 30-second timeout helped calm the troops, and by the time Carson-Newman scored its next set of 10 points, the game was all tied up at 21, and the battle was joined.
The Chargers shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half, streaking past C-N to take a 41-30 lead at halftime. That meant Hillsdale held a 21-point advantage within the first half, after its early 10-0 deficit.
The Eagles quickly cut into the deficit early in the second half, going on a 10-3 run to make it a close game once again. Carson-Newman came as close as three points down several times, but each time, a different Hillsdale player stepped up with a key basket.
Junior Ryan Badowski drained a pair of 3-point shots to keep the Eagles at bay. In the final couple of minutes, it was Stedman Lowry's turn, as he made two of his three 3-pointers in the game to help seal the deal.
But standing out in this game was redshirt-freshman guard Dylan Lowry, who scored a career-high 17 points. Playing another smooth, efficient game, Lowry was 6-for-9 from the floor and made all four of his free throws. He did an excellent job of finding space within the Eagle defense to take and make high-percentage shots.
Senior Rhett Smith scored all 10 of his points in the first half, and sophomore forward Gordon Behr scored a career-high 7 points, all in the second half. Senior Nick Archer led Hillsdale with 9 rebounds, while sophomore Nick Czarnowski came off the bench to grab a career-high 7 boards.
A 15-0 run late in the second half was the difference in Hillsdale's 76-62 loss to Kentucky Wesleyan College Saturday evening in Owensboro, Kentucky. The loss left the Chargers at 1-1 for the weekend tournament, hosted by KWC.
Smith's layup with 5:57 left in the second half put Hillsdale down three, 57-54. That matched the score differential at halftime, as the Chargers hung tough with a team that had won 33 straight games on its home floor.
But Kentucky Wesleyan then showed why it's been so tough to beat at home, going on a 15-0 run to finally shake loose of Hillsdale, putting the game away.
KWC shot 52 percent from the floor compared to 43 for Hillsdale. The Panthers were also plus-11 on the boards, and more than doubled the Chargers' shooting percentage from 3-point land.
Stedman Lowry had a strong game for Hillsdale, leading the team with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the floor. He swished five 3-point baskets in the contest.
Smith, Neveau and Dylan Lowry each scored 7 points, and Smith's 8 rebounds led the team.
UP NEXT: Hillsdale opens GLIAC play Thursday by taking on nationally ranked Saginaw Valley State on the road.