Hope College’s men’s basketball team came back for yet another nail-biter against Olivet at the Devos Fieldhouse on Saturday. The score held tight throughout the whole game; Hope being down for most of the first half. The score shifted when freshman center Preston Granger made two free throws, making the score 42-41. Junior Jeff Goral also made a game- changing three-point jump shot with 40 seconds left in the first half, giving the team their edge. Hope had the lead going into the second half with a score of 45-43, and the team did not let up from there. The score bounced back and forth, Hope being no more than 11 points behind for most of the half. With seven minutes left, junior Teddy Ray tied the score with a three-pointer, keeping Hope in the game 72- 72. With just one minute left, the score was tied 82-82, when sophomore guard Riley Lewis scored a three-pointer for the lead off of an assist from Dante Hawkins (‘18).
Lewis led the team with an impressive 23 points, along with the game-changing turnover. The game ended with a close score of 87-84, when Lewis made two free throws for being fouled after a steal.
The win will set the team up as first in the conference, tied with Adrian, Olivet and Trine. Several players stood out in the game on Saturday, reaching some high stats. Jason Beckman (‘19) impressively hit 1000 points for his college career. Granger also contributed, scoring 18 points. Junior forwards Ray and Dennis Towns added 13 points and 11 vital rebounds respectively, helping to keep Hope in the game.
In the past two weeks, Hope has had two close games in a row, keeping us all on our toes. Their odds look promising going into the rest of the season, and there will most definitely be more well-matched games to come. The team will travel to Albion this Wednesday, and then to Trine the following weekend. The team’s strength will be tested even further at these away games.
Beckman was named MIAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for games played Jan. 15-21. Against both Alma and Olivet, he played with 51.2 percent shooting and a 31-point average per game.
The Dutchmen continue to make their mark in the conference. Their endurance through challenging games gives them a winning advantage.