by Alan Babbitt
Amidst another dynamic performance by a Hope College backcourt, 6-foot-9 center Sam Vree stood tall for the Flying Dutchmen as well.
The sophomore from Lansing, Illinois (Illiana Christian HS) buried two go-ahead free throws with 2 minutes, 48 seconds remaining. Hope never trailed again and beat Wisconsin-Platteville 78-71.
The Flying Dutchmen overcame a 10-point deficit midway the second half to raise their overall record to 5-3.
Vree, pictured, made as significant of a contribution in a pressure-packed moment as anyone when he gave Hope a 64-62 lead, head coach Greg Mitchell said.
"Sam's two free throws, as Danny Beckman pointed out, were equally big as anything," Mitchell said of Vree, who is now shooting 45.5 percent at the line on the season. "If you don't step up and knock those down, it feels like a turnover."
Vree's foul shooting started an 8-0 run for the Flying Dutchmen that lasted two minutes.
Center Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian) followed Vree with a layup. Guard Jason Beckman of Shelby, Michigan (Shelby) chipped in a jumper and two of his record-setting 15 made free throws to put Hope ahead 70-62 with 45 seconds remaining.
"It was a big win for Hope," Mitchell said. "I'm incredibly proud of how we responded in the second half."
Beckman recorded his fourth 33-point game of the season and led all scorers. He went 15-of-15 at the foul line to break Jim Vander Hill's 1961 Hope record against Taylor (Indiana) for most free throws made in a game without a pass.
The 15 free throws were also the most made by a Hope player at DeVos Fieldhouse. Beckman surpassed Harrison Blackledge's previous mark of 12 against Alma College in 2017.
The Flying Dutchmen shot 87.1 percent from the foul line (27-31). Guard Riley Lewis made all four of his free-throw tries and netted 20 points.
Granger added 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Vree grabbed seven rebounds.
Hope returns to action on Tuesday-Wednesday, December 18-19 at DeVos Fieldhouse. The Flying Dutchmen host the Great Lakes Invitational/Russ DeVette Holiday Classic that features La Roche College (Pennsylvania), Mount St. Joseph University (Ohio), and Calvin College.