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#19 USF cruises past HU 87-72

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Facing their second straight NAIA Top 25 opponent, the HU men’s basketball team came up short this time around to suffer an 87-72 loss to #19 University of Saint Francis. The Foresters are now 3-6 against Top 25 foes with an 83-79 win over then ranked #3 USF back on January 10 serving as one of those big Ws.

Huntington hasn’t fared too well away from home this year having posted three wins against nine losses on the road while the Cougars are 10-1 when playing at Hutzell Athletic Center. The combo was lethal for HU (15-12, 6-9) Tuesday night as USF (19-8, 9-6) handed them their seventh road loss in the league. 

The Cougars’ success came by way pounding the ball down low, taking advantage of HU’s miscues and dominating the glass. Over half of USF’s points came from inside the lane. The hosts also cashed in on 15 Huntington turnovers to the tune of 20 points and converted ten offensive boards into 12 points. Statistically, the Foresters couldn’t match USF’s output as they tallied just a combined six points on USF TOs and second chance points while registering 34 points in the paint.

Despite the lopsided numbers, the Foresters stuck with Saint Francis through the first 25 minutes thanks to solid shooting. Coach Platt’s crew knocked down 15 of their 25 first half shots for 60.0 percent and connected on half of their first eight shots to start the final stanza to trail by only two at 51-49 with 15:20 remaining. No more than two possessions separated the two teams up to that point.

However, that quickly changed when USF, behind Bryce Lienhoop’s six points, went on a 10-2 run to enjoy the game’s first double digit lead at 61-51 with just under 13 minutes remaining. HU would trim the deficit back to single digits and keep it there for the next three minutes but a Cougar triple upped the lead to 12, 68-56, by the midway point.

Huntington couldn’t seem to buy a bucket after that as the lead hovered above ten points the rest of the night for the Cougars’ 17th double digit win of the year.

As a team, the Foresters finished 27-for-53 from the field for 50.9 percent which included going 6-for-18 from long range. Daniel Woll and Mike Bush each tallied 16 points to pace Huntington offensively. Bush also dished out a game-high nine assists. Trevor Lockwood came off the bench to tally 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Mason Coverstone chipped in ten points to round out HU’s double digit scoring.

Lienhoop finished with 19 points and seven rebounds to lead USF. Connor Lautzenheiser posted 15 points, Kegan Comer added 13 and Perry Poindexter registered ten.

The Foresters return home on Saturday to face Marian University at 3:30 p.m.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 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.