Jason Beckman started sharing and scoring, and the Hope College men's basketball team found its rhythm at an opportune time in the semifinals of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
The junior guard from Shelby, Michigan (Shelby HS) netted a game-high 26 points and reached a season-high with a game-high seven assists for the Flying Dutchmen in a come-from-behind, 81-65 victory against Adrian on Friday at Olivet College.
Hope (17-9) overcame an early 14-point deficit to advance to Saturday's 7:30 p.m. championship game at Olivet against the host Comets, who defeated Trine 78-71 in Friday's other semifinal.
Tickets for Saturday's game only will be sold at Olivet's Cutler Event Center on Saturday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
All but two of Beckman's points and one of his assists came after the Flying Dutchmen fell behind 20-6 eight minutes into the game.
Hope answered Adrian's early charge with a 24-1 run that was capped by a layup from freshman center Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian) with 4:08 remaining in the first half for a 30-21 lead.
Senior guard Dante Hawkins of Holland, Michigan (Holland HS) chipped in 15 points and six assists. He made all eight of his free-throw attempts.
Two other Hope players scored in double figures: Granger with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and junior forward Jeff Goral of Palos Heights, Illinois (Amos Alonzo Stagg) with 11 points off the bench. Goral was 6-8 from the foul line.
Hope outscored Adrian 20-8 at the free-throw line.
Junior forward Teddy Ray of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Homestead) recorded a career-high 14 rebounds to go along with eight points. Ray's previous best of 11 rebounds also came against Adrian — on January 13.
Hope is now 18-9 overall in MIAA Tournament semifinal games.
The Flying Dutchmen are bidding for their 12th MIAA Tournament title. Olivet (16-10 overall) is seeking its first.
Hope split the regular-season series with Olivet.
Post-game press conference