Men's Basketball Edged By Mount St. Joseph In Tournament Finale

by Alan Babbitt

The Hope College men's basketball team settled for another split at a tournament following a 63-62 loss to Mount St. Joseph University (Ohio) on Wednesday during the Great Lakes Invitational/Russ DeVette Holiday Classic at DeVos Fieldhouse.

All four teams went 1-1 at the two-day tournament after La Roche College (Pennsylvania) defeated Calvin College 74-68 in Wednesday's first game.

Mount St. Joseph (3-7 overall) led for less for two minutes, but held the lead for the final four seconds after turning a Hope turnover into a trip to the foul line. Jake Cropper split his two free-throw attempts for a one-point lead.

The Flying Dutchmen's third loss this season after winning the first game of a tournament dropped them to 6-4 overall.

"There aren't too many words that describe how disappointed we are," head coach Greg Mitchell said. "But honestly, we got exactly what we deserved. I am appreciative of Mount Saint Joseph wanting this thing and teaching us a valuable lesson, because if we are going to be the team we want to be, that kind of effort is obviously inexcusable. Had we found a way to win, that would have been a disservice to (the Lions). We are not where we need to be right now mentally. That is some physical fatigue, some emotional fatigue and not understanding how you have to bring it every 40 minutes.

"I love our guys and our potential, but our potential is way in the distance right now."

The game featured 10 ties and five lead changes.

Mount St. Joseph rallied from a 34-22 deficit after a Jason Beckman jumper with 2:43 remaining in the first half. The Lions trailed 34-31 at halftime after Jake Cropper banked in a near half-court, 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Center Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian HS) led the Flying Dutchmen with a game-high 21 points. He was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Beckman finished with 12 points. He joined Granger on the all-tournament team.

Guard Shaun Sullivan topped Mount St. Joseph with 18 points. Cropper, an all-tournament selection, added 11 points for the Lions.

Calvin's Derrick DeVries, La Roche's Tyler Frederick, and La Roche's Zach Gould also received all-tournament honors.

Hope's next game is Saturday, December 29 at Anderson University (Indiana).

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