The Hope College men's basketball team responded to a halftime challenge, clamping down defensively to claim a 97-86 victory against St. John Fisher on Saturday in the finale of the inaugural Great Lakes Invitational in Marietta, Ohio.
The Flying Dutchmen allowed only 29 second-half points at Marietta College as they evened their record at 1-1.
Sophomore guard Riley Lewis of Williamston, Michigan (Williamston HS) scored a career-high 26 points off the bench to lead three Hope players in double figures.
"We challenged them," head coach Greg Mitchell said of the halftime discussion after the Flying Dutchmen trailed 57-49 at the break. It was the second game Hope yielded 57 first-half points.
"Allowing 57 points on 76-percent shooting is ludicrous. We pressed a little more, not just for turnovers, but to bring the shot clock down a little bit," Mitchell said. We played our zone which we haven't worked on a ton just to try to put them into positions to succeed. We had to do something different. When you get stops, you get comfortable and confident.
"We picked up the emotion. Credit the guys for hanging in there."
No one flourished more than Lewis, pressed into more significant playing time with starting point guard Dante Hawkins of Holland, Michigan (Holland) sidelined Saturday because of an injury.
Lewis, pictured, scored 15 points in the second half alone as the Flying Dutchmen outscored St. John Fisher by 18 points after halftime.
Lewis, who played 31 minutes - second most on the team, finished shooting 62.5 percent from the field (10-16) and 44.4 from 3-point range (4-9).
Lewis also was credited with a career- and game-high five assists to just two turnovers.
"It could not have come at a better time," Mitchell of his guard's performance. "Obviously, he had a great opportunity with Dante going down. We still brought him off the bench for strategic reasons. He just needed to see the ball go in early. He'll be the first to say it was the other guys looking for him and believing in him. It was so cool to see everybody jump on board."
Freshman Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian) delivered as well. The 6-9 center delivered 18 points and seven minutes in 27 minutes off the bench after a six-point, two-rebound performance in Friday's season-opening, 102-17 loss to Marietta.
Hope's bench combined for 55 points. Senior co-captain Luke Dreyer of Zeeland, Michigan (West) added nine points in a reserve role.
Junior guard Jason Beckman of Shelby, Michigan (Shelby) chipped in 18 points and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.