A 27-point first-half deficit proved to be too big a mountain for the Hillsdale College men's basketball team to climb Saturday afternoon.
Very little went right in that half for Hillsdale, who fell to Lake Superior State 78-65 in the final GLIAC matchup between the teams at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena. The Chargers are now 6-8 overall and 2-6 in conference play.
The Chargers struggled in all phases of the game in the first half, which ended with the Lakers holding a 44-17 lead. LSSU outrebounded Hillsdale 26-16 and held the Chargers to 18 percent shooting from the floor (5-for-27). The home team shot 1-for-14 from 3-point land, while the Lakers were 6-for-9 from beyond the arc and shot 51 percent overall in building the enormous lead.
In the second half, Hillsdale turned things around in a big way, outscoring LSSU 48-34 while improving everything from the first half. Stedman Lowry made the team's first field goal attempt of the second half, and the confidence spread to his teammates from there.
The Chargers closed the gap to as little as 11 with 6:15 to go after a 3-point field goal by senior Rhett Smith. But Lake Superior State's Akaemji Williams, the GLIAC's leading scorer, responded impressively with two jumpers and a banked-in 3-point basket that kept Hillsdale from sustaining any momentum.
But despite making eight 3-pointers and shooting 53 percent in the second half, Hillsdale could never close the gap to single digits.
Lowry scored 15 points, hitting three 3-pointers while grabbing nine rebounds. Smith came within one point of his career high, tallying 14. Freshman Dylan Lowry came off the bench to score 11, and Nate Neveau had 8 points, six rebounds and three assists.