HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The Cougars of Spring Arbor University (21-9, 11-7) snapped the Huntington University men’s basketball team’s four-game win streak Saturday afternoon at Platt Arena by handing the Foresters (16-14, 7-11) a 75-58 loss to close out the regular season.
Saturday’s outcome may have put a damper on HU’s momentum but didn’t affect their seeding as they, win or lose over the weekend, finished 8th in the conference standings. Platt’s squad will travel to top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday in first round action of the Crossroads League tournament.
The opening ten minutes of play was a battle for control as the teams traded the lead nine times. Unfortunately, the Foresters weren’t able to keep on pace with SAU as Shane Merryman’s bucket at the midway point, which gave his team a 22-21 advantage, proved to be Huntington’s last lead of the day.
Over the next four minutes, Rob Hogans single-handedly took over the game by burying a trio of triples on his way to scoring 11 of his 20 first half points to give the visitors a 34-26 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the half. The Cougars went on to take a comfortable 40-31 lead into intermission.
Merryman converted a traditional three-point play within the first three minutes of the second period to trim the lead to seven at 44-37 but Spring Arbor spent the next five minutes swelling the lead to 20 at 60-40 to distance themselves from the Foresters.
Huntington conjured up one final push , behind eight points from Merryman, to cut the lead to single digits at 60-51 with 6:07 remaining but the Cougars made sure the upset-minded Foresters would get no closer as they closed out the contest on a 15-6 run to claim the series sweep.
Merryman paced HU with 28 points. TJ Short added 18. Alec Peterson pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, six of which were offensive, while Colin Featherston dished out a game-tying three assists.
Hogans poured in a game-high 31 points. Chris Bellamy was SAU’s only other double digit scorer with 19. Matt Howe claimed top rebounding honors with ten to go along with eight points and three assists.
HU struggled from the field, shooting 32.1 percent (18-for-56). On the other end of the court, the Cougars knocked down 25 field goals to the tune of 46.3 percent. Spring Arbor also won the battle of the boards 42-31.