The Charger men's basketball team took full advantage of its second chance in a dramatic contest Thursday night.
A wild final five minutes saw both Hillsdale and Northwood appear to have chances to lock up their final GLIAC meeting on multiple occasions. But the teams finished regulation just as they started, all tied up, forcing overtime. The Chargers took command from there, earning an 85-75 win over the visiting Timberwolves to improve to 2-5 in conference play and 6-7 overall.
Hillsdale opened overtime on a 7-0 run, gaining a key, big edge in the extra session. Junior Stedman Lowry swished his fifth 3-pointer of the game on the first possession of the extra period. Sophomore Harrison Niego's layup and two free throws from senior Rhett Smith gave the Chargers a 78-71 lead with three minutes left in overtime, and the team didn't look back from there.
Lowry played an outstanding game, scoring a career-high 32 points on 12-for-20 shooting from the floor. He connected on five 3-pointers, while grabbing eight rebounds in a career-high 44 minutes. Lowry did an excellent job of coming off screens set for him by his teammates and was able to shake loose of the Northwood defense to get several quality looks at the basket.
Niego played his first home game in a Charger uniform and did not disappoint. He also logged 44 minutes, finishing with 17 points while making three 3-point shots.
Sophomore guard Nate Neveau polished off the win with four made free throws in the final minute of overtime. He had 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 42 minutes. Hillsdale, shorthanded due to injuries in its backcourt, leaned heavily on these three, and they all played responsible, efficient games when the team needed it most.
Smith made a backbreaking 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer in overtime, and finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Smith, Niego, Neveau and Lowry combined to score 81 of the team's 85 points in the win. The Chargers outscored the Timberwolves 14-4 in overtime.
The final GLIAC chapter in this classic rivalry was a well-played one by both teams. There were just a total of 17 turnovers committed by the teams in an intense overtime game, a testament to how well-coached both teams are.
UP NEXT: Hillsdale hosts Lake Superior State at 3 p.m. Saturday.
PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Lancaster