HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The No. 19 HU men’s basketball team (20-4, 9-3) seems
to have Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s number. Saturday afternoon Platt’s
squad claimed their ninth conference win when they handed the Cougars (4-19,
1-11) a 83-67 loss at Platt Arena. The Foresters have turned this Crossroads
rivalry into a one-sided affair, winning all six match-ups since MVNU joined
the league in 2011.
The Cougars were the aggressors in the first ten minutes of play, enjoying a
lead most of the time. They were able to push their advantage to as many as
five at 16-11 before HU countered.
Huntington scored on six consecutive possessions, which included a pair of
triples by TJ Short, to outscore Mount Vernon 15-2 and seize the lead, 26-18, by
the 7:29 mark as the hosts wouldn’t trail again in the contest.
Derek Hinen then went to work, scoring 12 of his team’s next 16 points, which
included two from downtown in the final two minutes of the half, to give the
Foresters a comfortable 42-31 lead at break.
HU shot 51.6 percent from the floor which included going 6-for-10 from behind the
arc in the first twenty minutes and were just as efficient in the final stanza.
The Foresters went on to bury six more treys in the second half to finish the
game in impressive 12-for-20 behind the arc. They missed only 12 shots in the final
period on their way to blistering the nets to the tune of 53.4 percent
(31-for-58) for the game to make for a rather uneventful but welcomed second
half if you’re an HU fan.
The visitors dissolved the lead to nine on several occasions but would get no
closer. The last single-digit spread came at 65-56 with just under seven
minutes remaining but Huntington slammed the door shut on a late-game Cougar
comeback by piecing together a 13-5 run to take their largest lead of the day, 78-61,
at the 2:45 mark on their way to sending MVNU home still looking for their
first road win of the year.
Hinen led all scorers with 21 points which included going a perfect 3-for-3 behind
the arc and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe to go along with seven assists and
four rebounds. Shane Merryman added 18 points and ripped down a game-high ten
boards for his seventh double double of the year. Short finished with 17
points, 15 of those points coming from deep.
Eric Roby topped four Cougars in double digits with 17 points as Martell Medley
and Patrick Lucas registered 14 points apiece and Bryan Redic tallied 12.
The Foresters are gearing up for a clash with No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan (19-5) on
Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Luckey Arena. It will be a decisive battle as the
winner will climb on top of the league standings as both teams, along with
Saint Francis, currently boast a 9-3 league record.