Men's Basketball Starts Fast, Beats Adrian In MIAA First-Place Showdown

The Hope College men's basketball team turned the tables on Adrian College and remained in control of its destiny in chase for a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title repeat.

The Flying Dutchmen started fast to earn a 95-77 win on Wednesday night at DeVos Fieldhouse in a matchup featuring two of the MIAA's three first-place teams.

Hope -14-8 overall after its season-high win streak reached four games - stayed tied atop the MIAA standings. Both Hope and Olivet are 8-3 in league play with three games remaining.

The Flying Dutchmen never trailed after opening the game on an 8-1 run. Hope made 10 of its first 13 shots to extend its lead to 27-14, including three 3s from junior forward Teddy Ray of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Homestead HS) and one apiece from senior guard Dante Hawkins of Holland, Michigan (Holland HS) from junior guard Jason Beckman of Shelby, Michigan (Shelby).

Adrian (16-6 overall) defeated Hope 74-63 on January 13. It is the Flying Dutchmen's lowest-scoring MIAA game of the season.

VIDEO | First-Half Highlights | Second-Half Highlights

Hawkins said his team was determined to not be passive during the rematch.

"All year it's been about getting better every day. Win or lose, I think we've done that," Hawkins said. "We were aggressive and attacked them. We limited their free throws and kept them out of the paint for the majority of the game. Last time we got outrebounded. We cleaned up the glass pretty well today. The hot start and Teddy came out on first (helped)."

Ray made his first five shots en route to 13 points. He was one of four Hope starters to score in double figures.

Beckman, pictured, finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

Beckman now has 498 points on the season - putting him two away from becoming the 18th Hope player to score 500 points in a single season.

Hawkins contributed 26 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He also went 9-of-9 from the foul and recorded a game-high seven assists.

Freshman center Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian HS) netted 16 points. He went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.

The Flying Dutchmen shot 58.8 percent from the field (30-51) and 59.1 percent from 3-point range (13-22).

Justin Webster's 20 points topped Adrian.

Head coach Greg Mitchell was proud of his team's performance.

"Big win," he said. "We played some really good basketball for the majority of the game. We've got an unbelievable backcourt. We are blessed that (Beckman and Hawkins) are playing for Hope. They feed off each other. There's a chemistry about them I love."

Hope won't return to DeVos Fieldhouse until the February 17 regular-season finale against Albion.

The Flying Dutchmen travel to Alma on Saturday and to Olivet on February 14.

"We've got to continue to be who we are right now," Mitchell said. "We've evolved nicely, but we take absolutely nothing for granted. We haven't achieved anything yet. We just out ourselves in position."

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