by Alan Babbitt
Head coach Greg Mitchell saw a lot to like from his Hope College men's basketball team in a 76-68 loss at MIAA-leading Albion College on Wednesday.
The Flying Dutchmen rallied from an early 18-point deficit to pull as close as four points late. They had a few chances to make it a one-possession game but could not convert.
"Our grit and toughness were where we needed them to be," Mitchell said. "Shots just needed to fall. We showed a lot of resilience, which also is a sign of growth. I'm proud of the effort, disappointed with the result."
Guard Tyler George led Hope in scoring with 21 points. The sophomore from Ada, Michigan (Forest Hills Central HS) topped the Flying Dutchmen's 87.5 percent effort from the foul line by making all seven of his attempts.
Junior forward Preston Granger of Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian) totaled 18 points and a team-hign nine rebounds.
Freshman forward Evan Thomas of Okemos, Michigan (Okemos) chipped in 15 points, seven rounds and four assists.
Hope shot 36.4 percent from the field (24-66) and 19.4 percent from 3-point range (6-31).
"Twenty-five of those 3s were great looks," Mitchell said.
The Flying Dutchmen fell to 11-9 overall and 4-5 in MIAA play. They are tied for fourth place with Adrian College and Alma College.
Albion (18-2, 9-0 MIAA) made six consecutive free throws over the final 14 seconds to seal the win.
Forward Quinton Armstrong led four Britons in double figures with 16 points.
Hope's next game is on Saturday, February 8 against Calvin University. Tipoff is 3 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse. It is the 203rd game in The Rivalry that the Flying Dutchmen leads, 103-99.