The freshman came off the University of Saint Francis bench, drilled 6-of-7 3-pointers in the second half and helped the No. 3 Cougars erase a seven-point halftime deficit for a 93-83 win at 28th-ranked Olivet Nazarene
University in the season opening game for both teams. Hunter finished with 25 points hitting 7-of-8 3s for the game and the Cougars nailed a USF single-game record 18 3-pointers. Hollowell, who was playing for Huntington North High School just eight months ago, scored 22 points in the second half in nine minutes of action.
Not bad for your collegiate debut.
Of course Hollowell hit the go-ahead 3-pointer for USF with 5:16 to play in the second half nailing a 28-footer for a 79-77 advantage, then buried another from beyond the top of the key for an 82-77 Cougar lead with 4:45 to play.
“He plays with so much confidence and no fear,” USF Head Coach Chad LaCross observed. “I thought he provided a lot of energy on both ends of the floor tonight. I don’t think you could script a better start to your college career hitting seven 3s and scoring 25 points in 18 minutes. I am very proud of Hunter and he did a terrific job of helping us come back from a halftime deficit.”
Not that the freshman didn’t have any help from his teammates.
Senior NAIA All-America Bryce Lienhoop scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and dished out seven second-half assists. He finished with a double-double added a career best 10 assists.
“He really responded in the second half after a quiet first (half),” LaCross reported. “He did an unbelievable job of finding open shooters out of the double team. He was more aggressive getting to the basket and finished well down the stretch.”
Evan Henry, the Cougars’ veteran sharpshooter, buried all four 3s he launched in the final 20 minutes and finished with 18 points.
“Evan did a fantastic job of playing big minutes and knocking down big shots,” LaCross asserted. “He played within himself and didn’t force anything. He was great on both ends.”
Derek Hinen scored 11 in his debut for the Cougars after sitting out last season after transferring from Huntington University.
“Derek did an outstanding job with the ball in his hands most of the night,” LaCross said. “He does a great job of reading the defense off the ball screen and got Bryce going in the second half with great passes off the pick and roll.”
ONU still led by seven, 45-38, early in the second half, and still by six, 54-48, with 15:33 to play. Connor Lautzenheiser capped a 12-6 USF surge with a layup for 60-59 USF lead with 12:01 to play, but the Tigers countered with a 9-2 burst to take a 68-62 lead with 9:36 to play. The Cougars responded tying the scored at 68 on a Hollowell 3-pointer, then took a 71-70 lead on another Hollowell 3-pointer. Hollowell tied the score again at 73 hitting two free throws with 7:19 to play.
Hollowell’s seven 3s are the most since Jordan Hahn knocked down eight against Goshen on Jan. 23, 2016.
After two more lead changes, Hinen passed out to the wing where Hollowell buried the long 3-pointer and launching the Cougars on a 17-6 finish to start USF’s 54th season.
The 18 3s topped the previous best 17 against Urbana on Dec. 6, 1997 and equaled against Barat on Dec. 21, 2003.