GOSHEN, Ind. - Shane Merryman exploded for 35 points to lead the charge in HU’s 82-70 comeback win over Goshen College (8-20, 1-16) Tuesday night at Gunden Gymnasium.
Despite drawing multiple defenders each time he touched the ball, the 6-5 forward dismantled Goshen’s defense to best his previous career high of 30 points earlier this season against Robert Morris.
Merryman connected on twelve field goals and was an unblemished 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. He also ripped down a team-high nine boards, dished out three assists and swiped two steals to pace the Foresters (16-13, 7-10) to their fourth consecutive Crossroads win.
Joining him in double digits were teammates TJ Short with 18 and Alec Peterson with 14.
It was a tale of two halves as the Maple Leafs took charge of the first half to build as much as a 14-point cushion before settling for a nine point halftime lead of 44-35. A balanced attack was the key to Goshen’s success as they scorched the nets for 54.8 percent in the first twenty minutes with all eight Maple Leaf players who saw action contributing at least three points.
The Foresters, meanwhile, relied on Merryman and Peterson to get through the half. The HU bigs accounted for 26 of HU’s 35 points, shooting a combined 9-for-17 from the field while the rest of the team shot a dismal 3-for-17.
After a chance to regroup at halftime, Huntington turned things around in second stanza. Five different Foresters put points on the board in the first six minutes to knot the score at 53-53 by the 14:22 mark. 90 seconds later, Merryman buried his second triple of the night to give his team their first lead of the period at 59-56.
Jerron Jamerson made sure his Maple Leafs didn’t go down without a fight. He scored five consecutive points to force the game’s sixth tie at 64-64 with just over eight minutes remaining but it was a short-lived celebration for the GC contingents as HU went on an 18-6 tear to close out the game. Short capped off the night by going 7-for-8 from the line in the final 45 seconds to ensure the win.
Jamerson topped Goshen with 19 points. Kyle Davis and Matthew Martin posted 13 and 11 points in the losing effort while Trevor Commissaris corralled a game-high ten rebounds.
Behind four steals from Stephen Jones, the Foresters forced 16 Maple Leaf turnovers while committing a season-low six mistakes on the night. HU got to the line 26 times for 20 points and finished 28-for-66 from the field for 42.4 percent. On the other end of the court, Goshen shot 44.1 percent (26-for-59) for the game and went 12-for-16 from the line.
The Foresters wrap up regular season action on Saturday when they host Spring Arbor at 3:00 p.m. Regardless of this weekend’s outcome; HU will be the No. 8 seed in Wednesday’s first round action of the Crossroads tournament.