Just nine days after the start of official practice, the Hillsdale College men's basketball team played its first exhibition game against an old conference rival Wednesday night.
Hillsdale lost 67-61 to Oakland University in Rochester. The Chargers will play one more exhibition game, Nov. 3 at Toledo, before the start of the regular season Nov. 9.
Despite not having a ton of practice time, the Chargers played hard and made a strong showing against the Division I Golden Grizzlies. Once upon a time, these two teams were conference foes in the GLIAC. In 1998 Oakland University became a Division I program, while Hillsdale departed the GLIAC following the 2016-17 school year.
This game was the first meeting between the teams since 1998. Although it was an exhibition game, there was a regular-season edge and competitiveness to the game on both ends.
No Charger played more than 28 minutes, while Oakland played three of its five starters between 28 and 29 minutes. The Golden Grizzlies shot 48 percent from the field in the game, including 60 percent in the second half, when it held off the Chargers, who never led after the first minute, but also never trailed by more than nine points in any part of the game.
Senior center Nick Czarnowski and junior guard Dylan Lowry scored 16 points apiece to lead the Hillsdale offense. Czarnowski was his usual efficient self, going 5-for-6 from the field while sinking six free throws. Lowry connected on 5-of-9 shots from the floor and made a pair of 3-point shots.
Sophomore Davis Larson was part of the starting unit and showed flashes of what he can contribute to the team this year by scoring 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field. The Chargers lost their two leading scorers from last year, Stedman Lowry and Ryan Badowski, to graduation. Larson is one of the newer players to the lineup who has the ability to help fill that void. This game was a good start for him in that regard.
Czarnowski also led the team with 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
PHOTO: MaryKate Drews