No. 5 Cardinals claim HU Hall of Fame tournament title
Foresters drop 58-45 decision to Cardinal Stritch
HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The inability to put points on the board led to the demise of the HU men’s basketball team as they dropped a 58-45 decision to 5th-ranked Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Ness Bros. Hall of Fame tournament.
Huntington was never able to get on track offensively, scoring 18 points in the first half and then upping their output slightly to 25 points in the final 20 minutes. Not only did they struggle from the field, finishing with a season-low 15 field goals, the Foresters were never able to find their rhythm at the charity stripe where they went 14-for-25 for 56.0 percent.
The game’s only tie came at 2-2 within the opening minute but two possessions later, CSU took a lead that would stick. Despite only scoring five points over the next nine minutes, HU stayed within striking distance thanks to their stingy defense that was able to hold one of the NAIA’s top teams to ten points for a 12-7 differential by the midway point.
But the Foresters got stuck on eight over the next four minutes allowing Stritch to build a double digit lead that they were able to ride out until the halftime buzzer to take a 30-18 lead into break.
Trailing by 13 within the first 30 seconds of the second half, Shane Merryman scored eight of his game-high 18 points to spur an 11-2 run that pulled the Foresters within four at 35-31 by the 14:55 mark. After trading buckets for the next four minutes, the Cardinals returned the favor with their own 11-2 run to blow the game open at 52-37 to which Huntington never recovered.
Merryman added a game-high seven rebounds to go along with his 18 points and for his efforts was named to the All-Tournament team. He was the only Forester to reach double digits as Alec Peterson finished with eight points and Tyler Arrowsmith came off the bench to add seven.
Derek Semenas and Tony Smit paced Cardinal Stritch with 14 and 13 points respectively. Jeremy D’Amico grabbed seven boards to share rebounding honors with Merryman while Nick Ford dished out a game-best five assists and nabbed a game-high three steals.
HU (2-2) has the week off before competing in the Grace College Classic over the weekend.