HOLLAND - Gabe Quillan has made an impact for the Hope College men's basketball team as a rebounder and defender.
But his offense has transformed, making the center a scoring threat in the post - which has become pivotal for a Hope team playing without injured All-American Evan Thomas.
Quillan had a huge game on Saturday with a career-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to lead Hope to a 97-83 win over Rockford University on Saturday at DeVos Fieldhouse.
"He was pretty amazing. We anticipated him getting a lot of opportunities, but goodness gracious, he was hitting everything," Hope coach Greg Mitchell said. "He hit some shots early and his confidence built. His teammates found him, but he found shots for himself. It was his night. He felt strong with the basketball. It is huge for him to have a game like this. These games are new experiences for him. This will open up the floor. He had some great kickout assists. That is good basketball."
The Flying Dutchmen improved to 4-1 on the season. Rockford dropped to 3-2.
Meanwhile, TJ McKenzie has found his groove after moving over from the football season. He scored 23 points off the bench, going 5-for-7 from 3-point range to give the Flying Dutchmen a boost.
"TJ played great. He got T'd up for something an official thought he said, and I loved how our guys responded as a group. That was big because it could have slipped the other direction," Mitchell said. "TJ was in attack mode. He show well and got to the rim aggressively. He was engaged and alert. Guys have to step up without ET up there and they are delivering."
Clayton Dykhouse (Zeeland East) had 15 points for Hope to go along with eight assists and two steals, while Eli Schoonveld (Holland Christian) had 10 points and five assists. Tanner Wiegerink (West Ottawa) scored seven and had 10 rebounds. Brady Swinehart started and had three points, five rebounds and two assists.
"Eli always gives us a great lift, but he hit some 3s and was all over the place," Mitchell said.
Hope shot 53% from the field, while limiting Rockford to 42%. The Flying Dutchmen won the rebounding battle 46-36 and allowed just three free-throw attempts from Rockford in the entire game.
Rockford had four players in double figures, led by Mateo Fernandez Solari, who scored 16.
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Gabe Quillan powered Hope College to win over Rockford