Sophomore Brock Benson of Willowbrook, Ill. (Hinsdale South HS), pictured at right, and the Hope men's basketball team tip off Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) play on Thursday when it hosts Trine.
The game at DeVos Fieldhouse starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Flying Dutchmen (6-5 overall) host Trine, which is off to a 7-4 start. The Thunder own the second-best nonleague record in the MIAA, second only to Calvin's 8-3 mark.
Hope leads the all-time series by a 25-2 margin. The Flying Dutchmen have won all 23 meetings since Trine joined the MIAA in the 2004-05 school year, including three last season — 76-63 on Feb. 21 in the MIAA Tournament, 81-72 on Feb. 16 at Trine and 76-61 on Jan. 23 at DeVos Fieldhouse.
Thursday's game features three of the top individual scorers in the MIAA.
Hope point guard Ben Gardner is 10th in the MIAA. The sophomore from Carmel, Ind. (Carmel HS) is averaging 13.6 points per game.
Trine sports freshman guard Will Dixon, who ranks third at 15.5 points per game, and junior wing Tyler Good, who is fifth at 14.5 points per game.
Hope is fifth in the MIAA in team scoring at 72.9 points per game, while Trine is seventh at 69.2. Trine is second in scoring defense — allowing 61.3 points per game — while the Flying Dutchmen are fifth at 74.4 allowed.
Four of Hope's losses have come to teams who were ranked by d3hoops.com at the time of playing. Wisconsin-Stevens Point is now No. 1, while Illinois Wesleyan currently third, Wisconsin-Whitewater 10th and Wheaton (Ill.) 28th.
The Flying Dutchmen have a long history of success in the MIAA, including a league-high 36 regular-season titles. Hope is 760-310 all-time in league and MIAA Tournament play — winning 71 percent of the time.
This season, Lorence & Vander Zwart wants to reward Hope basketball for outstanding performance. Every time the Flying Dutchmen shoot 75 percent or better from the DeVos Fieldhouse free-throw line, LVZ will donate $75 to the Athletes Coming Together/Student Athlete Advisory Committee (ACT/SAAC), a group dedicated to the promotion of unity, camaraderie, communication and common purpose among all Hope student-athletes.