UPLAND, Ind. - The No. 13 HU men’s basketball team (14-2) escaped with a 72-70 road win Saturday afternoon at Odle Arena against Taylor University (7-8, 1-3) to remain undefeated in Crossroads play at 4-0.
The victory didn’t come without excitement as Huntington let a 14-point halftime advantage slip away. Up 51-35 with 16 minutes remaining and their sights set on another lopsided win, the Foresters went cold while the Trojans were just heating up. Taylor scored on nine of their next ten possessions to outscore HU 20-1 and take a 55-52 lead by the midway point of the period.
Rather than panicking, the Foresters quickly composed themselves after a Taylor timeout. It proved to be just what Platt’s team needed as they manufactured a 10-2 run, behind five points from TJ Short, to regain the lead at 62-57 with 6:15 on the clock.
Despite their last field goal coming at the 3:44 mark, HU clung to an eight-point advantage with just over two minutes remaining and weathered one final push from their Crossroads foe to survive with a two point win.
Shane Merryman topped all scorers with 26 points. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Derek Hinen and Short added 15 and 14 points respectively while Daniel Woll recorded 12 points.
Huntington finished the contest 24-for-50 for 48.0 percent while the Trojans canned 26 for their 50 attempts for 52.0 percent. HU scored 24 points behind the arc to TU’s 12 and scored two more points from the charity stripe then their hosts.
The first half belonged to HU. The Foresters’ efficiency was impressive as they went 16-for-28 from the floor for 57.1 percent which included draining five from downtown.
A pair of rookies teamed up with their two seniors to provide HU’s offensive firepower. Hinen took the lead by pouring in 13 while freshman classmate Woll tossed in all 12 of his points in the first stanza. Short and Merryman accounted for the visitors other 18 first half points to build a 43-29 lead by intermission.
Taylor was paced Kyle Stidom’s 21 points and game-high 12 rebounds. Darayl Jordan was the only other Trojan to score in double digits with 17.
The Foresters return to the friendly confines of Platt Arena on Tuesday to host 7th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University at 7:00 p.m.