In the sport of basketball, it is extraordinarily rare for a team to surrender a 23-0 run and go on to win that same game by double digits. But that's exactly what the Hillsdale College men's basketball team did Saturday afternoon.
The Chargers got out to a 16-4 lead on Saginaw Valley State, gave up the next 23 consecutive points, but then dominated the second half in a 73-57 victory before a big home crowd. The Chargers have now won seven straight games and are 9-3 overall and 5-3 in the GLIAC.
The team's homestand continues next week when it hosts Tiffin University at 8 p.m. Thursday.
This game featured huge swings by both teams. The Chargers opened the game focused, and executed flawlessly in building a 12-point lead just 6 minutes into the first half. Senior Anthony Manno (pictured) hit two of his game-high five 3-point baskets in the run to start the game for Hillsdale.
But Saginaw Valley State responded impressively with pressure defense that forced many Charger turnovers and took the team out of its preferred motion offense. Hillsdale committed 7 turnovers during the Cardinals' 23-0 run that saw the margin swing from Hillsdale up 12, to down 11, 27-16, with 6:59 left in the first half.
The Cardinals kept the lead at 8, 33-25 at halftime. But the second half saw Hillsdale play with much more composure, and the team countered SVSU's scrambling and athletic defense with patience, extra passes and timely jumpers.
The Chargers outscored the Cardinals 48-24 in the second half, the widest margin in one half this season for Hillsdale. The home team didn't wrest the lead back with one huge scoring run, but gradually wore SVSU down on both ends of the court. Keying the rally, as always, was senior forward Tim Dezelski, who continued his amazing season with another incredible performance.
He led all players in the game with 32 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Fourteen of his boards came on the defensive end, which was a big part in limiting SVSU's ability to counter Hillsdale's scores with scores of its own. Dezelski was 12-for-20 shooting from the floor, made all five of his free throws, and had 2 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocked shots.
Manno helped begin and sustain Hillsdale's comeback with his deadly shooting from the perimeter. He nailed five 3-point baskets on his way to 17 points in the ballgame. Senior Brandon Pritzl added 10, including a momentum-building 3-pointer that seemed to solidify Hillsdale's second-half momentum.
The Chargers outrebounded the Cardinals 34-27, and outscored SVSU 18-3 at the free throw line.