HU gaining momentum, knocks off another top 25 opponent
Foresters upend No. 20 Taylor 63-59
HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The Forester men’s basketball team (15-13, 6-10) isn't ready to be written off just yet. With the conference tournament less than two weeks away, 8th-seeded HU knocked off their second top 25 opponent this week.
After posting a 61-59 win against #15 Bethel on Tuesday, Huntington upended No. 20 Taylor University, 63-59, on Saturday at Platt Arena.
With lingering thoughts of the 26-point loss suffered earlier this season to the Trojans (19-9, 11-5), HU didn't let Taylor’s 24-11 start derail their confidence. Sparked by back-to-back triples from Colin Featherston and Shane Merryman, the Foresters responded with a 14-0 run capped off with Merryman’s second trey of the half to steal the lead at 25-24 with just under two minutes on the clock.
Tommy Peller finally broke TU’s drought with a bucket at the 1:25 mark to give Taylor a slim 26-25 advantage by halftime.
After a scoreless first half, sophomore Alec Peterson opened up the second stanza with two quick buckets to reclaim his team’s lead at 29-27. Two possessions and two scores later, the Trojans found their way back on top by two. They managed to extend their lead to six at 51-45, the half’s largest gap, with just over six minutes remaining before Huntington pieced together a 12-4 run over the next five minutes.
Merryman initiated the rally with a put back and Ryan Boester added trey but it was Peterson who finished it off in convincing fashion. The 6-10 sophomore muscled his way down low to pull his team within one and then added the exclamation point with a monster dunk over two Trojan players three possessions later to distance his team from the Trojans by four at 57-53 with just over two minutes remaining.
It proved to be just the cushion HU needed as two late three-pointers by Casey Coons weren't enough for the Trojans to mount a heroic comeback as the Foresters connected on five of their final six freebies to escape with their second upset of the week.
Merryman paced HU with 24 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field. He was perfect on all eight of his charity tosses in addition to grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists. Peterson finished with ten points and two blocks while TJ Short ripped down a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with eight points.
Coons topped all scorers with 25 points while Nate Kasper and Peller tossed in 15 and ten respectively.
The two teams shot nearly identical percentages for the game. TU posted 46.9 percent (23-for-49) on the day which included going 10-for-23 from 3-point land while Huntington connected on 46.7 percent (21-for-45) of their attempts including seven from deep.
The difference in the game came by way of the charity stripe where the Foresters found their way to the line 18 times for 14 points compared to the Trojans who made good on only three of their seven attempts.
With only two regular season games remaining, Huntington hits the road on Tuesday to face Goshen at 7:00 p.m. before rounding out the season with a home contest against Spring Arbor on Saturday.