The Hope men’s and women’s basketball teams played two tough games over the past weekend as a part of the NCAA tournament. Both teams were victorious in the first round of competition on Friday night, with the men’s team beating Augsburg University (Minnesota) 93-91, and the women’s team defeating Cornell College (Iowa) 75-50.
The men’s first game was a close one, with some significant contributions coming from the underclassmen. Sophomore guard Riley Lewis scored the team high of 23 points, and freshman center Preston Granger finished the game at 21 points, his career high. The score was tied 83-83 with 1:22 remaining on the scoreboard, smashed by Granger’s two point dunk, a lead the Flying Dutchmen refused to give up for the rest of the game.
Augsburg missed a heart stopping three point attempt at the last second of the game, securing Hope’s win.
The women’s first game was not as close, but made up for that with the aggression seen on the court. Junior forward Francesa Buchanan led the team in points and rebounds, scoring a total of 15 points and getting 10 rebounds.
The team fought for every point, remaining calm and working together despite Cornell’s uncanny ability to hit their two buzzer-beating half-court shots in the first half of the game.
The Flying Dutch were able to maintain and stretch their lead, ultimately beating Cornell to secure their spot in the next day’s game.
Both teams celebrated their victories, excited to advance to the second round game on Saturday night. The men’s team traveled to Illinois to play Augustana College, suffering a loss at 95-83, while the women stayed home to play Washington University in St. Louis.
The men’s team’s season ending loss means they will be parting with two seniors, Dante Hawkins and Luke Dreyer. Hawkins scored 22 points in the game, also tying his career high record with 121 assists, making him the sixth all-time Flying Dutchman in career assists with a total of 341. Junior Jason Beckman outscored Hawkins by two for a total of 24 points in the game, the highest scorer on the team. Augustana played tough, beating Hope to move onto sectionals this weekend. The women’s team played at home, defeating Washington University in St. Louis 85-69 to move on to sectionals this weekend, which will be hosted in DeVos Fieldhouse. The team played hard, winning the game with the support of making an impressive 28 out of 32 free throws attempted. The scoring was led by freshman Kenedy Schoonveld at 25 points, and Buchanan again led in the rebounds, with 11 total for the game.
This weekend, the women’s team will be playing in the semifinals against Christopher Newport University, the same team who beat them last year in the 2017 NCAA sectional semifinal with a score of 79-74.
Come out to DeVos Fieldhouse to support the team at 7:30 p.m. on Friday to cheer on another win for Hope!