(HILLSDALE, Mich.) – Behind an offensive outburst by Kyle Cooper, Hillsdale ousted Walsh in a hard-fought 94-90 in the first game back for both teams in the New Year. Cooper sank 14-of-20 shots from the field for 41 points as the Chargers improved to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the GLIAC. The Cavaliers fell to 5-4 overall and are also 3-2 in the conference.
The Cavaliers had their chances and erased a 15-point deficit to come back and take the lead late in the second half after Jesse Hardin Jr. hit one of his seven 3-pointers to give the Cavs a 79-78 advantage with 4:43 to go. That capped a 12-0 run over a three-and-a-half minute span to get Walsh back into the game.
Hillsdale scored the next six points, but Walsh answered with a 9-2 run to take its final lead of the game. After a pair of Hardin Jr. free throws, the Chargers' Stedman Lowry hit a 3-pointer in the right corner to give the hosts a one-point lead with a minute left. On the opposite end, an offensive foul forced Walsh to foul with 25 seconds left.
Hillsdale's Zach Miller missed the back end of the pair, but Cooper was able to pull down the offensive board to force the Cavs to foul once again. The Chargers hit their final four free throws to ice the game.
Almost lost in the shuffle was an outstanding performance by Hardin Jr. who scored 32 points, a season best for anyone on the team. He hit 9-of-18 from the field and blistered the nets from behind the arc with seven 3-pointers on 13 attempts.
Walsh will attempt to rebound at Saginaw Valley State on Sunday evening. Tip-off with the Cardinals is set for 8 p.m.