by Eva Dean Folkert
After trailing by 14 points at halftime on Wednesday night, the Hope College men's basketball team played with a greater sense of urgency during the second half in its comeback attempt against Adrian College. With 5:56 left in the game, the Flying Dutchmen came within one point of catching up, but at the final buzzer fell to the Bulldogs, 71-65.
The loss was Hope's fourth in-a-row and dropped the Flying Dutchmen to 11-11 overall and 4-7 place in the MIAA. With three games left in the regular season, Hope stands in sixth place in the league, two games behind fourth-place Alma and Adrian (at 6-5) and two games ahead of seventh-place Olivet and Kalamazoo (at 2-9). The top six teams make the MIAA Tournament beginning Tuesday, February 25.
Shooting woes plagued the Flying Dutchmen from the outset on Wednesday. Hope shot just 37% from the field in making its 23 points in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, Adrian built its largest lead to 18 points early. But Hope picked up the pace against a fast and physical Bulldog team over the next 14 minutes. Switching to a zone defense helped spark the offense. Hope whittled down the Bulldogs double-digit team to one point, 55-54, when Tyler George of Ada (Forest Hills Central HS) knocked down a 3-pointer. The sophomore guard scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half.
That scoring margin was as close as Hope would get to taking the lead away in Adrian's wire-to-wire win.
Hope actually outshot, percentage-wise, and outrebounded Adrian. The Flying Dutchmen were 41.4% from the field to the Bulldogs 38.1% and grabbed seven rebounds more, 42-35.
Points off of turnovers and second-chance points hurt the Flying Dutchmen. Adrian led in the former category, 10-2, and the latter one, 14-6.
Adrian's Jordan Harris, the MIAA's second leading scorer, led the Bulldogs with 25 points.
Two Flying Dutchmen recorded double-doubles: junior center Preston Granger of Lansing (Lansing Christian HS) with 22 points and 12 rebounds and freshman guard Evan Thomas of Okemos (Okemos HS) with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Also scoring in double digits for Hope was George and freshman guard Clayton Dykhouse of Zeeland (Zeeland East HS) with 11.
Hope will play its last regular-season home game on Saturday, February 15 against Kalamazoo College. Tipoff at DeVos Fieldhouse is 3 p.m.