FORT WAYNE, Ind. - It was a typical Crossroads battle that fans have come to expect any time the Foresters and Cougars go head-to-head as Scott Kohne’s fader from deep found nothing but the bottom of the net as time expired to lift #19 Saint Francis over #12 Huntington University 62-60 Tuesday night at Hutzell Athletic Center.
With this win, USF (20-9, 12-5) climbs up a spot in the league standings and into a three-way tie for second place with HU (23-6, 12-5) and Marian (16-6, 12-5).
While points were hard to come by in the opening twenty minutes, the Cougars maintained a lead most of that time. They opened up the period’s largest advantage of seven, 20-13, by the midway point before Huntington rallied back.
Four different Foresters stepped up to score on five of their next six possessions to enjoy what proved to be their third and final lead of the period at 23-22 with less than four minutes to go in the half.
After USF rattled off the next six points, HU returned the favor with a 5-0 run to close out the period to make for a 28-28 gridlock by halftime.
The Foresters picked up where they left off to start the second half as they raced out to a 52-39 lead behind ten points from Merryman and a pair of triples from TJ Short. Unfortunately it was only an eight-minute stint as the wheels gradually fell off for Coach Platt’s squad as the managed only eight points the rest of the way.
The Cougars gradually chipped away at the deficit and nine minutes later, Austin Fox’s bucket down low gave USF their first lead of the stanza, 57-56, with 3:25 remaining.
Despite momentum clearly favoring Saint Francis, the game was far from over as the Foresters managed to stay within striking distance over the next three minutes.
Down by one with :29 seconds to go, Shane Merryman had a good look down low but couldn’t get it to drop forcing the Foresters to foul. They went after Fox who missed the front end of his one-and-one setting up what could have been the game-winner.
With 5.9 seconds remaining, Daniel Woll finally reclaimed the lead for his team with a jumper from the free throw line but with one USF possession yet to be had, it didn’t hold thanks to Kohne’s long range heroics.
It was only Kohne’s third three-pointer of the year as the senior finished with 11 points. Joining him with double digits were teammates Josh Hogan and Kegan Comer who each tossed in 18 on the night.
Merryman poured in a game-high 25 points to go along with six boards. Short added 11 points and also ripped down six rebounds while Alec Peterson finished with eight points and a game-high four blocks.
HU shot 25-for-52 for 48.1 percent from the field which included going a dismal 4-for-15 from behind the arc. They only found their way to the line seven times but made good on six of them for 85.7 percent.
The Foresters will look to bounce back on Saturday when they host Taylor at 3:00 p.m. in the season’s final regular season contest.