A fast start propelled the Hope College men's basketball team to a 78-58 win at Kalamazoo on Saturday.
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association-leading Flying Dutchmen never trailed after opening the first 1 minute, 50 seconds on an 8-0 run.
Hope built a halftime lead en route to improve to 13-4 overall and 6-0 in MIAA play. The Flying Dutchmen take a one-game lead over second-place Calvin into Wednesday's 194th edition of The Rivalry. Tipoff is 8 p.m. at Calvin.
Senior forward Harrison Blackledge of Canton, Ohio (Hoover HS) led Hope with 16 points against Kalamazoo. He was one of four Flying Dutchmen to score in double figures.
Senior guard Mitchell O'Brien of Manteno, Illinois (Bishop McNamara) chipped in a career-high 13 points off the bench.
Hope helped its cause by going 22-of-27 from the foul line (81.5 percent) for the second consecutive game.
The Flying Dutchmen's 46-22 halftime lead featured at least six points from four different players, including nine from Blackledge. Kalamazoo fell to 5-11 overall and 1-5 in MIAA play.