The 2017-18 Hillsdale College men's basketball season came to an end Saturday night in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Regional Tournament.
The Chargers, the #5 seed in the regional, lost to fourth-seeded Lake Superior State University 81-67 at Ferris State's Jim Wink Arena. Hillsdale's season comes to a close with an overall record of 21-10.
The Lakers used their depth, outside shooting and a late run in the first half to establish control of the game. Lake Superior State got 42 points from its bench, including a 17-point outing from Carson Manger and a 16-point game from Malek Adams. They scored 33 points in a combined 44 minutes on the floor, going 11-for-16 from the field.
A three-point play from junior center Nick Czarnowski put the Chargers down 5 points, 32-27 with 2:44 to go in the first half. But the Lakers ended the half on a 10-2 run to extend that five-point margin to 14 going into halftime. Hillsdale committed three fouls and went 1-for-3 from the field in the half's final 2:44, giving the Lakers firm momentum and control of the game.
In the second half, the Chargers could only get as close as 11 points down. LSSU opened the second half scoring six straight points to immediately jump ahead by 17 and used good ball movement and effective transition work to keep the Chargers down.
Hillsdale shot 59 percent from the field in the second half, but had two distinct statistical disadvantages in the game.
The Lakers had a 7-2 edge on offensive rebounds in the game, and had six fewer turnovers (11-5). Those numbers resulted in nine extra field goal attempts for Lake Superior State. Add to that a 93 percent rate from the free throw line (13/14) and the Lakers struck a winning formula in the month of March.
Senior guard Stedman Lowry, one of Hillsdale's all-time great perimeter shooters, appropriately, swished a 3-pointer for the final basket of his career. He shared scoring lead honors with Czarnowski with 16 points in the regional game.
Czarnowski went 7-for-12 from the field for his 16 points, the most he's scored in a game since December. Junior forward Gordon Behr was the team's bright spot on offense in the first half, when he scored 11 of his 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field. Freshman Austen Yarian came off the bench to produce 6 points and 6 rebounds for Hillsdale.