To view Merryman's shot, click here
HUNTINGTON, Ind. - Twitter blew up after Shane Merryman’s buzzer-beating 3/4-court heave found nothing but the bottom of the net to lift his Foresters past Marian, 61-59, in the conference opener Tuesday night at Platt Arena. It was a moment in time as the crowd erupted and HU students stormed the court in celebration. His heroics even made ESPN’s SportsCenter Top Ten later that night as the day’s No. 1 play.
The night was even more special as Head Coach Ty Platt reached a coaching milestone. Coming into this season, Platt needed only nine wins to reach the century mark and tonight he enjoyed his 100th career victory in one of the most memorable finishes in program history.
The final 60 seconds leading up to Merryman’s big play couldn’t match the final .7 seconds but it came awfully close as fans in the packed arena definitely got their money’s worth.
Aaron Evans’ bucket with under a minute remaining gave Marian their first lead in over ten minutes at 57-56 but the game was far from being over as Derek Hinen’s turnaround fade-away 10-footer with 4.5 seconds remaining put HU back on top by one. The lead lasted just over three seconds as Jason Riley drew a foul and drained both freebies setting up Merryman’s game-winner.
The rest of the game paled in comparison as defense reigned supreme, evidenced by the low-scoring affair. HU shot 46.3 percent (25-for-54) for the game while the Knights’ topped out at 51.0 percent (26-for-51). Neither team got to the free throw line more than ten times and turnovers were at a minimum as HU committed five to Marian’s ten.
The Knights enjoyed the game’s largest lead at 24-16 with just over seven minutes remaining in the opening half before HU closed out the period on a 14-2 run to stake out a 30-26 lead by intermission.
Up until the final minute, the Foresters only trailed two possessions in the final stanza but they were never quite able to shake their pesky visitors as HU’s lead never exceeded six points.
Merryman finished with 23 points to top all scorers. TJ Short and Hinen tossed in 13 and 12 points respectively. Hinen and Ryan Boester shared team-high honors in assists with four while Merryman and Alec Peterson led the team in rebounds with seven apiece.
Marian was paced by Jake Stafford and Evans who each netted 17 points while Riley added 12.
The Foresters will enjoy Thanksgiving before hitting the hardwood again on Tuesday when they travel to Spring Arbor for a 7:00 p.m. matchup with the Cougars.