HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The HU men’s basketball team successfully defended Platt Arena in their home opener with a 90-78 decision over Purdue University North Central (0-2) Tuesday evening.
Coming off a pair of lopsided wins this weekend, the Foresters wasted little time making sure the Panthers didn’t tarnish their unblemished record as HU scored the game’s first 11 points to set the tone on their way to improving to 3-0 on the season.
HU relied on their All-American Shane Merryman in the first half as he scored 22 of his game-high 24 points to give his team a comfortable 42-13 lead by halftime that they were able to ride out for the win.
PNC’s only shining moment started six minutes into the game and spanned seven minutes when they outscored their hosts 17-5 to force the game’s only tie at 20-20 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half. A quick timeout by Coach Platt was all the Foresters needed as they sizzled the nets for the next ten points to establish a double digit lead that they maintained for all but a few possessions the rest of the way.
Merryman corralled a team-best nine rebounds, four of which were offensive, to go along with his 24 points. TJ Short added 16 points. Derek Hinen finished with 13 points and a game-best eight assists. Tyler Ault rounded out Huntington’s double digit scorers with 11.
Every Forester saw action with Hinen being the only one to log more than 30 minutes of playing time and it was a team effort as 21 of HU’s 32 field goals were assisted. Coach Platt’s squad enjoyed a slight 34-30 rebounding advantage and shot 55.2 percent from the field to PNC’s 52.5 percent.
Myles Merchand paced the Panthers with 23 points. Ty Kowalkowski and Justin Reynolds tossed in 15 and ten points respectively while Marcus Heard took game-high rebounding honors with 11.
The Foresters host the annual Ness Bros./Hall of Fame Tournament this weekend. HU will face-off against Great Lakes Christian College on Friday at 8:00 p.m.