Men's Basketball Charges Past Albion In MIAA Opener

Zach Littleson hopped off the bench in the second half for his first action in a challenging Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener at Albion.

The senior forward from Rochester Hills, Michigan (Adams HS) quickly buried a 3-pointer, pulling the Flying Dutchmen within a point at a critical juncture.

Hope charged to an 85-79 win by outscoring the Britons 29-19 over the final 10 ½ minutes beginning with Littleson's clutch 3 from the wing.

"Give him an A+ for being ready for the moment," Hope coach Greg Mitchell said. "That 3 might have been worth 10 from an emotional standpoint."

The Flying Dutchmen improved to 8-4 overall by overcoming a 53-44 deficit 5 ½ minutes into the second half.

Albion (3-9, 0-1 MIAA) fired out of halftime on a 17-9 run to seize its largest lead of the game.

Senior forward Harrison Blackledge of Canton, Ohio (Hoover) scored 20 of his game-high 27 points after halftime. It was his eighth game this season with at least 20 points.

Hope's starters combined for 75 points.

Junior guard Dante Hawkins of Holland, Michigan (Holland) chipped in 19 points and five assists.

Senior forward Cody Stuive of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) matched his career-high with 18 points and dished out four assists.

Senior guard Chad Carlson of Rockford, Michigan (Rockford) added 11 points, including three of the Flying Dutchmen's nine 3-pointers. He also collected four assists.

Besides Littleson's 3, Hope also received from its bench a career-high eight rebounds from senior guard Mitchell O'Brien of Manteno, Illinois (Bishop McNamara).

Senior center Keith Brushwyler of St. Joseph, Michigan (Stevensville-Lakeshore) contributed all six points and five rebounds in the first half after Blackledge sat down with early foul trouble.

"We rode our seniors," Mitchell said.

Hope returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 7 with a 7:30 p.m. game against Olivet at DeVos Fieldhouse. T-shirts will be sold at the game to benefit Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan. | PO Box 9000, Holland, Michigan 49422