Huntington, Ind. - In front of a packed house, the No. 19 Foresters of Huntington University (19-7, 7-5) handed No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan University (22-4, 11-1) their first MCC loss of the season by dismantling the Wildcats 93-77 on Saturday at the Merillat Complex.
The home crowd had plenty to cheer about as the Foresters played solid team ball on both ends of the court from opening tip-off to the final buzzer. As a team, HU connected on 61.8 percent (34-for-55) of their shots and dished out a season-high 19 assists compared to the Wildcats' 49.1 percent (28-for-57) shooting performance and six assists.
“We came out with great focus and intensity. Our start to both halves was awesome,” commented head coach Ty Platt.
“We showed a lot of poise and I thought our guys did a nice job of getting everybody involved. But without question the best part of our game today was our defense. Our guys got after it for 40 minutes. It lead us to better opportunities on the offensive end.”
Huntington came out of the gates firing as four different Foresters put points on the board in the first five minutes to take a quick a 14-2 that left a stunned Wildcat reeling. HU pushed the lead to 15 at 21-6 before George Jones capped off a 9-2 Wildcat run with two freebies to cut the lead in half at 23-15 with eight minutes left in the half.
Tyler Shively made sure an eight-point difference would be as close as Wesleyan would get as he drilled a three to push the lead back to double digits. The Foresters went on to mount a 17-point lead before the Wildcats rallied in the closing minutes to pull within ten, 39-29, behind Jones' six points and Aaron Martin's trey at the buzzer.
The second half started much like the first stanza with three different Foresters sharing the scoring load to not only grow the lead to 53-35 but set the tone for the remainder of the game. Kellen Zawadzki's jumper at the 8:40 mark gave Huntington its largest lead of the contest at 75-43. The final eight minutes belonged to Wesleyan as they outscored the Foresters 34-18 but it was too little too late as HU cruised to the 93-77 win.
The loss snapped the Wildcats' 19-game winning streak.
Shively tossed in 22 points to lead a balanced Forester attack. Zawadzki finished with 18 points, ten boards and six assists. Caleb Kennedy and Shane Merryman each finished with 15 points and Bobby Jolliff came off the bench to score ten points in thirteen minutes of play. Jordan Weidner paced the Wildcats with 16 points. Patrick Hopkins recorded the double double with 12 points and ten boards. Rounding out the double digit scoring for Wesleyan was Martin with 13, Jones with 12 and Jeff Hoskins with ten.
“This was a huge game for us, but not totally surprising," remarked Coach Platt. "In this conference, anybody can beat anybody else.” Box Score