January 19, 2013 - Life on the road in the GLIAC is a treacherous one. But for the second straight game, the Hillsdale College men's basketball team survived and pocketed a win on its way home.
The Chargers survived a 15-1 run in the second half and came away with a 54-48 victory over Ashland University in Ohio Saturday afternoon. The win keeps Hillsdale in a first-place tie with the University of Findlay with an 8-4 conference mark. The Chargers are 12-4 overall and finish up this three-game road trip in Ohio with a game at Malone University Thursday night.
This game had enough momentum swings in the second half to give anyone a neck strain. Neither team led by more than four points through the final 10 minutes of the first half, but Hillsdale grabbed control of the game by grabbing most of the rebounds. A sequence that saw the Chargers grab six straight rebounds led them to pull out to a 40-26 lead in the second half.
Ashland answered impressively, putting a 15-1 run on Hillsdale to tie the game up at 41-41 with eight minutes to play. Both teams played suffocating defense from there, as the teams combined for 20 points in those final eight minutes. The lead traded hands a couple of times until Hillsdale's most experienced player stepped up in crunch time.
Senior center Nick Washburn (20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) put the Chargers ahead for good with an offensive rebound-putback to make it a 48-46 game with 36 seconds to play. He would finish off the game with three more points, a defensive rebound and a blocked shot to keep the Eagles from pulling off another comeback win at home.
Thursday night, Ashland shocked Findlay 61-60 to drop the Oilers into a first-place tie with the Chargers in the GLIAC South Division. Ashland is now 5-10 overall and 3-9 in the GLIAC with the loss to Hillsdale.
Fourteen of Washburn's 20 points came in the second half.
Hillsdale's defense, which has yielded an average of just 50 points per game in its last two wins, did a superb job of guarding Ashland without fouling. The Eagles shot just seven free throws in the game, and the Chargers outscored the home team 14-4 from the charity stripe in the victory.
Photo courtesy of Rob Washburn