The Huntington University Foresters (13-6, 5-4) overcame a six-point half-time deficit to earn the hard-fought 64-58 victory over Marian College (9-11, 3-6).
The Knights used a stifling half-court defense to keep the Foresters from gaining any offensive rhythm in the first half. Marian netted the game’s first six points, but Huntington scored the next seven to get back in the game. The Foresters were still up 13-12 with 13:00 minutes to play, but then turned the ball over on five of their next six possessions. Marian took advantage of Huntington’s miscues and opened a five-point lead during the stretch. The Knights then doubled the margin over the next three minutes to take its largest lead of the game at 27-17 with five and a half minutes left in the period. The Foresters finally responded with some solid defense of their own. Huntington held Marian to just two points over the final five minutes of the half, which allowed the Foresters to chip away at the deficit. The teams headed to the locker room with Marian up 29-23.
Huntington emerged from the break and immediately began to pound the ball inside. The Foresters’ Amy Berry was the recipient of the renewed focus as she cashed in for 10 points in the first four minutes of play. Berry’s tenth point gave Huntington a 35-31 lead and the Foresters continued to add to it. Two Courtney Beerbower free throws at the 10:31 mark gave Huntington its largest lead of the game at 49-35. But the Knights didn’t go away. Marian’s tenacious defense returned forcing the Foresters into four consecutive turnovers. The momentum switched and the Knights rode it all the way back to within two at 54-52 with 4:42 to go. Berry finally put a stop to Marian’s run with a traditional three-point play that pushed Huntington’s lead back to five at 57-52. The Knights kept within striking distance down the stretch, but the Foresters were able to keep a step ahead by knocking down free throws. Huntington scored its final seven points of the game at the charity stripe, hitting 7-8 to hold off the Knights’ rally.
Berry topped all scorers in the game with 25 points, 20 of which came in the second half for Huntington. Lauren Davenport chipped in 13 points and a game-high five steals and Jenna Donaldson added 12 points. Kristin Houck led the Knights with 15 and Whitney Frame finished with 13. The Foresters shot 51% (22-43) for the game, while Marian was 19-45 for 42%. The Knights out-rebounded Huntington 31-21.