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Cougars get the best of HU second time around

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CHICAGO, Ill. – After suffering a 88-73 loss to the Huntington men’s basketball team early this year, the Cougars of St. Xavier University (7-8) returned the favor Thursday night at the Shannon Center to down the Foresters 89-80 in both team’s final game of 2016.

The loss snaps a four-game win streak and drops Coach Platt’s crew to 10-6 on the season.

The contest was decided from long range where SXU outscored their visitors 33-12 by burying 11 triples to HU’s four. Aside from that glaring difference, the bottom line was similar for both teams as each finished with 33 field goals and scored within two points of each other at the line. SXU held a slight 30-29 rebounding advantage and committed ten TOs to HU’s 11.

Given the statistical similarities, it’s not too surprising the game remained close throughout to feature 11 ties and four lead changes with the gap never venturing to double digits. However, SXU held the upper hand most of the night as they owned a lead for nearly 33 of the 40 minutes.

Tyler Arens gave HU its only two leads of the first half, once at the 9:10 mark for an 18-16 tilt and then again at the 6:59 mark for a 20-18 advantage. The 6-8 post scored down low on each occasion to account for four of his 16 first half points as his team headed into intermission down 33-30.

After shooting 43.8 percent in the opening stanza, Huntington bounced back to can 19 of their 31 shots in the second half for 61.3 percent but it wouldn’t be enough as SXU was even more impressive, scorching the nets for 73.1 percent (19-for-26) in the final 20 minutes.

The Cougars outscored the Foresters 8-2 to start the period for their largest lead of the night up to that point at 41-32. Behind ten points from Mike Bush, it took the Foresters nearly five minutes to finally force the game’s seventh tie at 50-50 by the 12-minute mark. HU’s general was just warming up as he scored on four straight possessions after that to force three more ties and give his team a 59-58 edge by the midway point of the frame.

Unfortunately, Huntington’s one-point lead was their last advantage of the night as the hosts cashed in on six of their 11 three-pointers over the final ten minutes to recapture the lead and then hold their visitors at bay for the nine-point victory.

Arens finished with a career-best 28 points to pace the Foresters. Bush added 21 points, 19 in the second half, to go along with a game-high ten assists. The Cougars held HU’s leading scorer Daniel Woll to just five points but the 6-7 forward hauled in a game-best ten rebounds.

Quinn Neigo collected 23 points for SXU. Jack Brody tossed in 18 while Niko Cahue and Jared Jones tallied 15 and 13 respectively.

HU jumps back into league play on Tuesday to face Taylor University 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 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.