Shooting nearly 60 percent for the game, the 12th-ranked Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan University (15-3, 4-0) remained unbeaten in MCC play by edging the #17-ranked men's Foresters basketball
team of Huntington University (13-4, 2-2) 99-98 Thursday evening at Luckey Arena.
It was a fast and furious start as both teams put ten points on the board within the first two and a half minutes of play. The rest of the half was a game of runs as the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run to take a double digit lead at the 14:20 mark. The Foresters countered with a 13-2 run to go up 25-24 midway through the half. The final run of the half was orchestrated by the Wildcats. Down by one with five minutes left in the stanza, they went on an 18-8 tear to take a 54-45 lead into the locker room.
The Foresters went to work in the opening minute of the second half to cut the lead in half at 56-51 but the Wildcats once again wasted no time pushing the lead back to double digits. HU continued to stay within striking distance but poor free throw shooting was the thorn in their side. Normally a 79 percent free throw shooting team, the Foresters went 11-for-18 (61 percent) in the final twenty minutes.
Down 90-85 with just over three minutes left in the game, Zawadzki led a 9-1 charge that gave HU a 94-91 lead with just under two minutes on the clock. Wesleyan answered with an old-fashioned three-point play on the next possession to mark the eighth tie of the game with 90 seconds remaining. There were two more ties in the final minute of play. With possession to the Foresters and the score knotted at 98-98, Tyler Shively's three was off the mark and on the ensuing rebound, the Foresters were whistled for a foul sending Will Hubertz to the other end of the court for a one-and-one. He calmly sank his first attempt to give the Wildcats a one-point lead with 1.5 seconds remaining. It proved to be enough as the Foresters' desperation shot fell short at the buzzer.
Zawadzki led all scorers with 34 points. Shively added 20 points. Caleb Kennedy recorded a double double with 16 points and game-high 14 rebounds. He also dished out a game-high seven assists. Shane Merryman came off the bench to score ten points and collect five boards. Patrick Hopkins paced the Wildcats with 28 points and ten boards. Also scoring in double digits was Will Hubertz with 23, Derrick Troyer with 19 and Jordan Weidner with 15.
The Foresters are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Bethel College for a 3:00 p.m. matchup.