Harrison Blackledge scored nine of his game-high 24 points over the final 3 ½ minutes to help the Hope College men's basketball team secure a 76-71 win at Alma on Saturday.
The senior forward from Canton, Ohio (Hoover HS) made seven free throws and one jumper down the stretch for the MIAA-leading Flying Dutchmen as they extended their win streak to 10 games.
Hope raised its record to 17-4 overall and improved to 10-0 in league play. The Flying Dutchmen remained three games ahead of second-place Calvin.
Hope can clinch at least a share of its second consecutive and 39th overall MIAA championship with a win at home against Trine on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
The Flying Dutchmen never trailed after senior guard Chad Carlson of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford) hit a 3-pointer 29 seconds into the game. Hope jumped out to a 10-0 lead and led 37-31 at halftime.
Carlson was second in scoring against Alma (10-11, 6-4) with 15 points. He made two 3-pointers to give him 172 on his career — second-most all-time among Flying Dutchmen players. Joel Holstege holds the school record with 181 from 1994-98.
Junior guard Dante Hawkins of Holland, Michigan (Holland) chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore forward Dennis Towns of Flint, Michigan (Powers Catholic) scored a career-high nine points and collected six rebounds off the bench.
Blackledge also grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds — one short of his career high. The Flying Dutchmen won for the first time at Alma in three games.