In a game that resembled a track meet more than a basketball game, it was the run and gun style of NAIA Division I Olivet Nazarene University (7-3) that eventually wore down Huntington University giving the Tigers an 89-87 come-from-behind win. Substituting five players at a time every minute, ONU used relentless full court pressure with non-stop trapping and a frenetic pace to force the Foresters into an uncharacteristic 34 turnovers in the game.
Huntington came out strong against the Tigers’ pressure. The Foresters broke down ONU’s press easily in the opening minutes scoring on numerous layups and putbacks to take a 15-5 lead through five minutes of play. The Tigers took advantage of a couple of HU turnovers to pull within four at 15-11, but the Foresters continued to get high percentage shots and pushed the margin up to 13 at 31-18 midway through the period. Another ONU run cut it to seven at the 6:51 mark, but Huntington closed out the half on a 17-9 run to take a 51-36 lead to the locker room.
The Foresters were able to maintain their lead early in the second half and were up 67-53 at the 14 minute mark. From there the momentum began to shift. Over the next five minutes, Huntington committed seven turnovers in 10 possessions which allowed the Tigers to pull within two at 71-69 with 9:44 to play. The two teams then traded the lead back and forth a few times until Danielle Pipal put ONU on top 76-75 at the 7:32 mark. The Tigers built a six-point cushion and still had it at 87-81 with 2:18 left in the game.
Huntington closed to within two at 87-85 with 46 seconds left, but Poppy Miller scored on a driving layup to make it 89-85. The Foresters Lauren Davenport pushed the ball up the floor and scored a layup with seven seconds left. Huntington then sent Courtney Hehn to the line and she gave the Foresters one more chance when she misfired on both tries. Davenport pushed it up, but her final try bounced off the front of the rim.
Both teams put five players in double figures with Huntington’s Beerbower taking game-high honors with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Jenna Donaldson finished with 17 points, Kelsey Green and Brita Kuiper both chipped in 16 off the bench and Davenport finished with 10. Jealyn Foston led the Tigers with 17points. Miller added 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Huntington shot 43.4% from the field hitting 33 of 76 shots while the Tigers were 32-80 for 40%, including 12-49 from behind the arc. The Foresters out-rebounded ONU 63-37.