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HU polishes off #4 Cougars in OT

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HUNTINGTON, Ind.  - The Forester men’s basketball team knocked off the #4 Cougars of Saint Francis, 84-79, in overtime in the league opener Tuesday night at Platt Arena. The win not only snaps a four-game USF win streak but also marks the first time since 2012 that Huntington has toppled a top five team. The last big upset was an 89-85 decision over #4 Robert Morris on November 16, 2012.

After spotting the Cougars a three point lead of 73-70 in overtime, the Foresters were near perfect the final three minutes, scoring on six of their final seven possessions, to notch the hard fought win. In addition to a pair of long balls, one by  Devon Merder and the other by Derek Hinen, HU cashed in in all eight of their freebies to outlast their neighbors to the northeast. Kyle Hartman and Austin Karazsia each knocked down a pair and then Daniel Woll polished things off by going 4-for-4 in the final 14 seconds to lock-in the win.

Neither squad could gain much advantage in regulation as no more than a handful of possessions every separated the two teams. The biggest disparity came four minutes before halftime when HU enjoyed a 32-22 lead but Perry Poindexter made sure it didn’t stand. The 6-8 redshirt freshman scored eight of his team’s last 13 points of the stanza to pull the Cougars within one, 36-35, by intermission.  

Woll scored HU’s first six points of the second half to spearhead an 11-4 run capped off by a Merder triple to put the hosts up 47-39. Huntington maintained an advantage through most of the period except for a 30-second span at the midway point and then again in the final 16 seconds when Bryce Lienhoop completed a traditional three-point play to deadlock things at 70-70 and extend the game by five minutes.

Final stats were similar for both teams except at the charity stripe where the Foresters knocked down 88.0 percent of their freebies (22-for-25) while the Cougars converted just 12 of their 19 attempts for 63.2 percent.  Both teams committed nine turnovers and played within a rebound of each other. HU finished 29-for-60 from the field for 48.3 percent while USF went 30-for-69 for 43.5 percent.

Woll topped all scorers with 25 points to go along with a team-high 12 rebounds for his first double double of the year. He also logged game-highs of three assists and three blocks. Hinen posted 17 points and Kyle Hartman came off the bench to add 14.

Austin Fox led the Cougars with 18 points. Poindexter tallied 15 points and a game-high 13 boards. Kegan Comer and Seth Small recorded 13 points apiece while Evan Henry rounded out USF’s double digit scoring with ten.

Next up for HU is a road trip to Marian, a recent 85-72 winner over #2 Indiana Wesleyan, on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 39 NAIA All-America honors and 234 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.