By shutting down Hope’s front line, Mississippi College was able to shut off the Flying Dutchmen’s biggest offensive weapons.
Starters Nate Snuggerud, Nate VanArendonk and Chase DeMaagd combined for just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting as the Choctaws defeated Hope 83-72 on the opening night of the RDV Sportsplex Classic in Florida.
“It’s no secret we like to get the ball inside,” Hope coach Matt Neil said of the 6-10 VanArendonk, the 6-5 Snuggerud and the 6-3 DeMaagd. “ We had some great looks in the paint early, and we didn’t convert. And when we did get to the free throw line, we only hit 6-of-19.”
Hope (4-5) was not a lot more effective on its two-point attempts. The Flying Dutchmen got off 73 shots, 13 more than their average, but connected on just 28 for 43 percent.
“They’re a 41-percent shooting team and (Thursday) they hit 52 percent,” Neil said. “They’re a very athletic team and they like to dribble-drive. They’re quickness is something we had to deal with, and they exploited some areas.”
But Hope remained competitive thanks to the play of Grand Haven graduate Alex Eidson. The Flying Dutchmen freshman guard came off the bench to score a career-best 18 points, including five of the team’s 10 3-pointers.
After trailing 44-40 at halftime, Hope passed Mississippi (5-4) with an 11-2 run.
“We did a lot of little things right, and we did them with energy,” Neil said. “They called a timeout after our run, and it proved to be a very strategic call. We talked about weathering their run after that and we made some stops, but we didn’t get anything on the offensive end.”
Colton Overway’s 3-pointer gave Hope a 47-42 lead that prompted the Mississippi timeout.
Mississippi rallied to tie the score at 48-48 and the teams traded baskets until it got to 56-56 at the 11:06 mark. That’s when the Choctaws started a 13-0 run that ended with about 5 1⁄2 minutes to play when Billy Seiler hit a 3-pointer.
Seiler added 15 points and Overway (West Ottawa) scored 10 points for the Flying Dutchmen.
Mississippi’s Brandon Blake, a 6-3 junior guard, had a team-high 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
DAVIS SPARKS YSU TO VICTORY
Youngstown State freshman guard Shar’Rae Davis, a Grand Haven graduate, had 17 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists, helping lead the Penguins to a 80-71 home win over Akron on Thursday.
The victory improves YSU to 8-3 this season.
Davis connected on a career-best three 3-pointers in the contest. Her best spurt came late in the first half, when Akron closed to within four on two occasions, including a 25-21 with 7:45 left in the half. YSU went on another run scoring seven consecutive points, with Davis accounting for all seven points of the run. The first two buckets came on layups before the third came from behind the 3-point line at the 6:27 mark giving the Penguins a 32-21 cushion.
Davis, who was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year for the second time this season in early December, ranks third on the Penguins squad with a 10.2 points per game average. She’s also averaging four rebounds and nearly five assists per game.