Closing out the GLIAC era at home could not have gone any better for the Hillsdale College men's basketball team.
The Chargers drained 20 3-point baskets and clinched a GLIAC Tournament berth thanks to a 92-71 win over the Lake Erie College Storm at the Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena.
Hillsdale, winners of seven of its past eight games, is now 14-11 overall and 10-9 in the GLIAC.
The Chargers clinched their postseason berth thanks to Walsh's loss at Ashland Thursday night. Although Walsh and Hillsdale could still end up with identical GLIAC records, Hillsdale won the tiebreaker with the Cavs thanks to their common series record against Ashland – 1-1 for Hillsdale, 0-2 for Walsh.
Over the course of clinching that postseason spot, the Chargers honored their two graduating seniors, Rhett Smith and Nick Archer, in a pregame senior night ceremony. The emotion that goes with an occasion like senior night can sometimes work for, or against the honoring team. In this case, Hillsdale rode the wave of emotion into a shooting display that was one for the ages.
The team's 20 made 3-pointers in one game are the third-most in a game in school history, and the most by any Charger men's basketball team in more than two decades. The school record is 23, set against Spring Arbor back in December of 1992.
Junior guard Stedman Lowry set the tone for the night's shooting, by making his first three shots – two of them from deep in 3-point territory – to spring Hillsdale to an early lead. Ten of Lowry's 13 points came in an early first-half burst that saw the Chargers take immediate control of the game.
Hillsdale shot an extraordinary 63 percent from 3-point land, showing accuracy in addition to its volume. Hillsdale was 20-for-32 from beyond the arc, and all five starters made two or more 3-point field goal attempts.
The Chargers shot 53 percent from the field overall, while limiting Lake Erie to 47 percent shooting. Hillsdale's superior ball control – just six turnovers in the fast-paced game – can be credited to sophomore guard Nate Neveau, who turned in another outstanding effort as the team's point guard.
Neveau finished with 12 points, six rebounds and 10 assists with no turnovers in 29 superior minutes on the floor. His decision-making, both with and without the basketball, were nearly flawless as he dissected the Storm defense by finding any one of a number of hot Hillsdale shooters in the game.
Junior Ryan Badowski has been playing the best basketball of his career of late, and showed it off in the home finale with 26 points, going 9-for-12 from the floor overall, and 8-for-10 from 3-point land. His eight made 3-pointers are third-most in a game in school history.
It's too early to know who Hillsdale's first-round opponent will be. The rest of the GLIAC has two games left to play, while the Chargers finish up the regular season Saturday afternoon at Ohio Dominican. Four teams in the GLIAC North Division are crunched within one game of one another.