By ANDY WOLF
HILLSDALE, Mich. — When Hillsdale College’s offense is clicking, it’s as tough as any to stop.
The Chargers seized control early and stayed in good rhythm all game long to defeat the University of Findlay men’s basketball team 77-65 on Saturday at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena.
UF coach Charlie Ernst tipped his proverbial cap to his opponent.
“I thought they played very well,” Ernst said. “They were content to wait for a great shot, even if that shot meant in the last five seconds of the shot clock.
“… We just could never get momentum with our defense. We missed some opportunities with our offense but we put so much pressure on our offense because we couldn’t string enough stops together and at times when we had really good defensive possessions, they’d knock down a tough shot.”
Findlay, which has already equaled last season’s loss total, dropped to 4-5 overall, 2-1 in the GMAC. Hillsdale improved to 6-4, 3-0.
Both teams attempted 21 3-pointers; the Chargers made 10 to the Oilers’ six.
Ethan Linder had three 3-pointers to lead Findlay with 14 points.
Hillsdale’s Patrick Cartier put up 18 of his game-high 24 points in the second half as he couldn’t miss. The 6-foot-8 freshman hit all six of his shots after halftime and both attempts from beyond the arc after only making one prior 3-pointer all season.
“It was one of those days for them but he’s a good player,” Ernst said of Cartier.
Davis Larson added 17 points for the Chargers while Connor Hill chipped in 14 points and seven assists.
Four Hillsdale starters had at least three assists apiece as the Chargers — to Findlay’s demise — ran their motion, cutting offense to a T.
The Chargers put up 19 assists to just eight turnovers — two in the second half.
Plenty of Hillsdale’s dimes came with constant ball movement to find an open shooter or a player cutting down the lane at the right moment.
The Oilers held a 6-3 lead before the Chargers scored the next 13 points in a span of just over three minutes.
Hillsdale twice got Tavon Brown, another 6-foot-8 freshman, in a favorable matchup, first off a pick and roll, and second on a switch to create a three-point play which he converted.
Mike Travlos capped the run with a 3-pointer, prompting a UF timeout at the 12:31 mark.
The Chargers led by as many as 15 points in the first half at 30-15, though the Oilers trimmed it down to 32-25 by halftime.
Findlay kept chipping away, and twice pulled within three points at 32-29 and 34-31 early in the second half.
The Oilers got no closer and only fell further behind, unable to string together consecutive buckets the rest of the way. Anthony Masterlasco’s two point-blank finishes to open the second half marked the only two such instances.
“At times our inexperience showed a little bit,” Ernst said. “In terms of those long defensive possessions, I thought we played pretty well on defense for a majority of most possessions but that’s not good enough when you play good teams and that’s what they exposed today.”
Masterlasco (Liberty-Benton) scored 11 points and Aaron Overhiser added 10 points and eight boards for the Oilers.
Tommy Schmock tallied eight points and four assists while being held without a steal for the first time in 14 games dating back to last season.
Findlay has a quick turnaround and will shift its attention to Wisconsin-Parkside (5-4), which comes to town for a nonleague matchup 7 p.m. Tuesday at Niekamp Arena.
Ernst expects another grind as the Rangers delivered the Chargers a 60-51 overtime loss on Nov. 15.
“I told the team ‘this schedule is not set up for the weak of heart,'” Ernst said. “Parkside is another good, solid, grinder-type team from the GLIAC.
“… They’re going to defend us really well; they’ve got a big strong post player, they’re going to take their time on offense so it’s going to be a lot like this game.”
FINDLAY (4-5, 2-1 GMAC)
Masterlasco 5-8 1-2 11, Bruns 3-7 0-0 6, Overhiser 5-12 0-1 10, Schmock 3-8 0-0 8, Linder 5-7 1-2 14, Gray 1-4 0-0 2, George 2-3 1-1 5, Emrick 2-2 0-0 4, Edmonds 1-4 0-0 3, Stover 0-4 2-2 2. TOTALS: 27-59 5-9 — 65.
HILLSDALE (6-4, 3-0 GMAC)
Cartier 10-13 2-3 24, Larson 6-12 1-1 17, Yarian 2-8 0-1 4, Hill 6-8 1-2 14, Lowry 3-9 2-3 10, Brown 2-3 1-1 5, Nau 0-1 0-0 0, Travlos 1-3 0-0 3, Richardson 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 30-58 7-11 — 77.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 6-21 (Bruns 0-2, Overhiser 0-3, Schmock 2-6, Linder 3-5, Gray 0-2, Edmonds 1-3); Hillsdale 10-21 (Cartier 2-2, Larson 4-6, Yarian 0-2, Hill 1-3, Lowry 2-4, Nau 0-1, Travlos 1-3).
rebounds: Findlay 31 (Overhiser 8); Hillsdale 36 (Cartier 10).
ASSISTS: Findlay 10 (Schmock 4); Hillsdale 19 (Hill 7).
STEALS: Findlay 2 (Bruns & Overhiser 1); Hillsdale 6 (Larson 2).
BLOCKS: Findlay 0; Hillsdale 1 (Brown 1).
TURNOVERS: Findlay 10; Hillsdale 8.
TOTAL FOULS: Findlay 15; Hillsdale 14.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Hillsdale, 32-25.