A college basketball classic unfolded Thursday night in North Canton, Ohio, and the Hillsdale College men's basketball team couldn't have come out of it happier.
In a game that saw 30 made 3-point field goals made by Hillsdale and Walsh, the Chargers came up with their biggest win of the season, 102-98 in overtime over the Cavs at Alumni Arena.
The win vaults Hillsdale into a third-place tie with Ohio Dominican for third place in the GLIAC South Division, and puts the Chargers a half-game ahead of Walsh in the standings. Hillsdale is now 12-11 overall and 8-9 in the GLIAC.
When these two teams met three weeks ago, Walsh broke Hillsdale's heart with a jump shot with 1.9 seconds left in a 79-77 decision. This time it was Hillsdale who made all the clutch plays, at both ends of the court, in a wild back-and-forth contest.
The teams entered overtime tied at 85, but that tie was broken on the first possession by junior guard Stedman Lowry, who had another smoking hot shooting game. He hit 3-pointers on the first two possessions of overtime, and Hillsdale was able to maintain the lead and control throughout the extra session.
Lowry tied his career-high with nine 3-point baskets, one shy of the single-game school record. His 27 points was a huge part of what was a very balanced offensive effort, in spite of Lowry's incredible shooting performance.
Junior Ryan Badowski had 25 points, tying his career-high, to go along with six rebounds for Hillsdale. He was right in the middle of many big plays throughout overtime. He went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and made a 3-pointer during a stretch that saw both teams briefly take the lead. His first two made free throws gave the Chargers a 100-97 lead. His second two freebies gave Hillsdale the all-important two-possession advantage.
Even though there were 200 total points scored in this game – the most in a Hillsdale College men's basketball game in nine years – there was some defense played. Senior Rhett Smith stepped up huge on this end of the court with two blocked shots in overtime. His second block came on a Walsh possession where the Chargers led 98-97. That block was followed by a Badowski defensive rebound, which led to two made free throws by Badowski, padding Hillsdale's overtime lead.
Smith set a career-high with four blocked shots, paired with 12 points and four rebounds in this critical road game.
Fellow senior Nick Archer also stepped up with a big game, scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds and four assists. His 3-point shot was Hillsdale's final made basket of regulation, evening out a 3-pointer by Walsh's Zac Carter on the subsequent possession.
Hillsdale shot 58 percent from the floor in the game, and went 18-for-30 from 3-point territory. The team's 18 made 3-pointers were five shy of the single-game school record.
UP NEXT: Hillsdale plays at Tiffin at 3 p.m. Saturday