The Hillsdale College men's basketball team suffered its fourth straight defeat Saturday afternoon, 87-73, to a powerful and athletic Ferris State University team at the Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena.
Hillsdale is now 4-6 overall and 0-4 in the GLIAC after its final home game before the holidays.
The Chargers shot 49 percent from the field, compared to 44 percent for the Bulldogs, and committed just 9 turnovers against a very active defense. But it wasn't enough against a Bulldog team that featured tough play from both inside and out.
Center Zach Hankins led Ferris State with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocked shots. Using his 6-foot-10 frame with impressive efficiency, Hankins protected the rim and kept the ball high on offense, rarely allowing the Chargers a chance at disrupting his game.
While using its athleticism to get to the rim, the Bulldogs also played with discipline and precision, going 24-for-26 from the free throw line as a team, and held a 42-29 rebounding edge on the Chargers.
Hillsdale's last lead came after a Nick Archer jumper put the team in front 25-23 with 4:18 to go in the first half. But Ferris State rallied with a 10-2 run to take the lead for good. The Bulldogs added to that lead just before halftime by draining three free throws with 0.3 seconds left in the half, expanding a five-point lead to eight.
That lead quickly grew to 12 in the opening moments of the second half. But Hillsdale dug down and showed heart and energy in going on a 16-5 run to cut the deficit to one after Stedman Lowry's short jumper. But the Chargers didn't quite have enough to get over the hump. One defensive stand couldn't be strung together to become two or three, and the Bulldogs scored just enough to maintain a lead throughout the half.
It was a five-point game with five minutes remaining, but Ferris State made all its free throws down the stretch, and added a couple of late 3-pointers to expand the final margin of victory.
Five players scored in double figures for the Chargers, led by Rhett Smith's 15 points. Dylan Lowry came off the bench to score 13, a total matched by his brother Stedman. Archer scored 12, while Nate Neveau had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
UP NEXT: Hillsdale plays at Michigan Tech at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
PHOTO CREDIT: Carly Gouge