An emotional week for Hope College men's basketball coach Greg Mitchell ended with fervent effort to close a Purple Community victory against Albion Saturday night at DeVos Fieldhouse.
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association-leading Flying Dutchmen rallied from a 11-point deficit to win 82-70 in front of a season-high crowd of 3,052.
Hope (15-4 overall, 8-0 MIAA) outscored Albion 25-10 over the final 7 ½ minutes.
Mitchell attended the funeral of close family friend Cayden Patrick on Thursday. Patrick, 18, of Laingsburg died last weekend after a six-year battle with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Sixteen members of Patrick's family came to DeVos Fieldhouse for Saturday's game. Junior guard Dante Hawkins of Holland, Michigan (Holland HS) wear Patrick's name on his special purple jersey for the Van Andel Institute fundraiser.
Hawkins scored 10 of his 13 points during the second half to help the Flying Dutchmen total 53 points after halftime to Albion's 30.
Senior forward Harrison Blackledge of Canton, Ohio (Hoover) contributed 12 second-half points. He finished with a game-high 29 points that was his best scoring performance at DeVos Fieldhouse this season.
Blackledge made all of hs 11 free-throw attempts while also going 8-of-11 from the field.
Senior guard Mitchell O'Brien of Manteno, Illinois (Bishop McNamara) matched his career-high with 13 points, including 10 in the second half.
Senior guard Chad Carlson of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford) chipped in 12 points after playing all 40 minutes.
Senior forward Cody Stuive of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) netted all eight of his points after halftime.
The Flying Dutchmen remained two games ahead of second-place in MIAA standings after Calvin rallied to top Trine at home.
Hope's next game is Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Olivet. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.