The NAIA 9th-ranked Huntington College Foresters (20-9, 12-4) secured the top seed in the MCC Tournament next week with their 80-77 win over the Bethel College Pilots (16-13, 6-9). After leading by as many as eight midway through the first half, the Foresters headed to the locker room up just two at 44-42. The second half was a seesaw battle with 14 lead changes and five ties. With the score tied at 64-64, the Pilots put together a 9-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 73-66 with 5:50 left to play, but a controversial blocking foul called on Huntington’s Chase Verba lit a fire under the Foresters. On Huntington’s next possession, Verba beat his defender to the hole for an easy layup and then stole the ball from Jon Zeser at the other end. Alex Kock missed a 3-point attempt, but Verba came up with the offensive board and was fouled on the putback. Verba knocked down both free throws to cut Bethel’s lead to 73-70 with 4:35 to go. Three minutes later, a jumper in the paint from Steve Snider put Huntington up 74-73 with 1:43 left to play. The Pilots immediately took back the lead on two free throws from Jon Jones, but Huntington’s Doug Sheckler answered with a floater in the lane to continue the seesaw affair. On Bethel’s next possession, the Pilots got the ball in deep to Andrew Laird and he scored the layup and was fouled with just 23 seconds remaining. Laird missed the free throw and Huntington’s Kock came down with the rebound. The Foresters brought the ball up and immediately got it into Kock on the block, who powered his way in for the layup. Adrick Hill grabbed the inbounds pass and took off up the floor, but was whistled for a travel when he tried to stop and pull up for a jumper. The Pilots were then forced to foul and they sent Kyle Ganton to the line. He knocked down both charity tosses to put Huntington up 80-77, and Kyle Sears desperation three at the buzzer was off the mark. Ganton and Kock led the Forester offense on the night with both scoring 20 points. Kock also added 10 rebounds and three assists. Laird took game-high honors with his 21 points for the Pilots. Huntington concluded its regular season with tonight’s win and will now await the outcome of Saturday’s games to find out who they will host in the first round of the MCC Tournament next Wednesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m.