MOUNT VERNON, OHIO - The long bus drive to Mount Vernon Nazarene University didn’t seem to faze the HU men’s basketball team (11-6, 3-2) as they won their second MCC game this week with a 76-67 decision over the Cougars Thursday night.
Caleb Kennedy topped all scorers with 23 points and dominated the glass with 19 rebounds. Shane Merryman added another 12 points and their combined play in the post proved to be too much for the Cougars as the Foresters outscored MVNU 30-14 in the paint. Tyler Ault added another 14 points, 12 of which came in the first twenty minutes, to round out HU’s double digit scoring.
After ten minutes of nip and tuck basketball in which neither squad owned more than a three point lead, Justin Jantzi knocked down a three to push HU’s lead to five at 17-12 with just under ten minutes remaining. MVNU responded with a 14-5 run thanks to buckets from five different Cougars to jump back on top 26-25 at the 4:25 mark.
Paced by Ault’s driving layup and trey, HU reeled off the next 11 points to take their largest lead of the contest at 36-26 but Robbie Taylor’s second three of the half on the next possession reduced HU’s lead to single digits as they headed into the break with a 36-29 lead.
The Cougars trimmed the lead to three at 41-38 within the first four minutes of the second half but HU took a turn at showcasing their offensive weapons as five different Foresters put points on the board to outscore MVNU 15-4 and blow open the lead at 54-40 with just under twelve minutes remaining.
The Cougars had one more run in them as they erased the lead to three at 61-58 with four minutes remaining but the Foresters’ life line came at the charity stripe where they knocked down 10-of-13 freebies to pull away from the Cougars.
HU finished the night shooting 48.2% (27-for-56) while the Cougars went 12-for-29 for 37.7%. Both teams recorded 11 miscues while the Foresters dominated the boards 43-30, scoring 19 second chance points to MVNU’s 10.
Taylor paced MVNU with 19 points. Joining him in double digits was Austin Semple with 14 and Danil Zakhlebnyy with 11.
The Foresters wrap up their three-game week by returning to the Merillat Complex Saturday afternoon to host Spring Arbor University at 3:00 p.m.