by Eva Dean Folkert
On its second gameday in a row in Wisconsin, the Hope men's basketball team came up short against another WIAC opponent, losing 91-77 to Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Saturday afternoon. Though the outcome added another setback in the Flying Dutchmen's loss column, as it did the day before when they lost to Wisconsin-Platteville, head coach Greg Mitchell was heartened by his team's play against the Pointers.
"We didn't invest the energy required in our game yesterday (against Wisconsin-Platteville)," said Mitchell. "But in less than 24 hours, I think we responded well with grit and toughness in our game today. We did some good things today compared to yesterday. Dante (Hawkins) and Jason (Beckman) played much better, Teddy (Ray) got us to within a point (in the second half), and Rob (McGivney) played his best all-around game so far. But we ran into a real sharpshooter."
That sharpshooter was Pointer junior guard Nate Dodge who scored 42 points off the bench. Dodge hit a Stevens Point school-record 10 three pointers. The Pointers made a total of 13 three's against the Flying Dutchmen.
Hope never held a lead in the game, and though they shoot 50% from the field in the first half, the Flying Dutchmen got behind by the biggest margin (12) of that half at intermission, 45-33.
The second half started with an emphatic dunk by junior Rob McGivney of Burr Ridge, Illinois (Timothy Christian HS), but it seemed every Hope basket was answered by a successful Dodge bucket. After a blocked shot by junior Dennis Towns of Flint, Michigan (Powers Catholic HS) at the 8:00 mark got the Flying Dutchmen back on offense, junior forward Teddy Ray of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Homestead HS) nailed a three-pointer of his own, off an assist by Hawkins, to draw Hope within one, 69-68. But in less than a minute, Wisc.-Stevens Point scored another basket from beyond the arc, this time by Pointer MJ Delmore, and Stevens Point never looked back.
The Flying Dutchmen were led in scoring by junior guard Jason Beckman of Shelby, Michigan (Shelby HS) with 21 points while Ray added 17 points, and senior Dante Hawkins (pictured above) of Holland, Michigan (Holland HS) also scored 17 plus led in assists with eight and co-led in rebounds with five. McGivney grabbed five rebounds as well.
Hope shot well from the three-point line, making 64.3% of their attempts from beyond the arc, and they shot 47.1% from the field overall. At the free throw line, the Flying Dutchmen were good 83.3% of the time.
Stevens Point shot 54% from the field, making 52% of their three-point attempts. The Pointers held the rebounding advantage with 36 to Hope's 24.
Of his team's play this weekend, Mitchell explained that "I'm not a moral victory kind of guy. I'm a realist but I think we took some steps forward today. Our schedule is tough. We have two more tough opponents coming up in Florida, but if we continue to invest in each other and invest in our energy, we'll improve. When you invest, there is a payoff."
Hope's record now stands at 3-4 on the season.
The Flying Dutchmen will have 10 days off between competition dates. They play next at the RDV Sportsplex Tournament in Orlando, Florida, taking on St. Vincent on Tuesday, December 19, and Baldwin-Wallace on Thursday, December 21. Both game times are 7:30 p.m.