UPLAND, Ind. - The Forester men’s basketball team missed only seven shots in the opening period to take a commanding first half lead and then cruised to the 67-57 win over the Trojans of Taylor University Saturday afternoon at Odle Arena.
Shane Merryman topped all scorers with 21 points, grabbed a game-high ten rebounds and dished out four assists to pace the sharp-shooting Foresters. Caleb Kennedy added 18 points and TJ Short tossed in another nine.
HU shot 72% (18-for-25) in the first half on their way to a 44-24 halftime lead. Merryman got things started for the Foresters with two quick buckets and then found his high school teammate Tyler Ault who drilled a three to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead and set the tone for things to come.
Up 28-19 at the 6:40 mark, HU went on a scoring rampage by drilling their final seven shots of the half to balloon their lead twenty by the halftime buzzer. Leading the charge was Merryman with 14 points and three assists while Ault and Ryan Boester each dropped in pair of treys.
In true Taylor fashion, the Trojans played hard-nose defense and systematically chipped away at the lead to make up ten points by the eleven-minute mark at 52-42. They went on to trim the lead to five on two different occasions but a Kennedy bucket down low with just over six minutes remaining pushed the lead back to seven and while the free throw line wasn’t kind to the Foresters down the stretch, HU was able to hang on for the ten-point win.
Huntington finished the game shooting 64.3% (27-for-42) while holding the Trojans to 37.3% overall (19-for-51) and 16.7% (3-for-18) from three-point land. HU dominated the boards 32-22 and outscored Taylor 40-27 in the paint.
Casey Coons led the Trojans (18-10, 7-9) with 16 points. Nate Kasper came off the bench to score 12 points and Kyle Hanaway added 11 points.
With this win, the Foresters (16-12) complete the regular season sweep over Taylor. HU beat the Trojans 83-70 back on January 14. With two league games to go, Huntington shares the No. 5 spot with Goshen. These two MCC foes will square-off Tuesday at the Merillat Complex. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m.