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HU gets off to fast start for 88-80 win over Grace

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. - Junior Mason Coverstone’s triple with 23 seconds remaining found nothing but the bottom of the net to put the game out of reach for the Huntington men’s basketball team on the way to an 88-80 win over a pesky Grace College squad. 

The W wraps up the regular season sweep over the Lancers with HU’s first win, a 92-83 decision, dating back to December 5. The win also bumps Platt’s crew up a spot into sixth, tied with Marian, in the league standings. With five regular season games remaining, the Foresters are 10-15 overall, 6-7 in league play.

Prior to Coverstone’s heroics offensively, the 6-6 forward came up with a huge play defensively when he blocked Charlie Warner’s layup off the backboard to preserve his team’s three-point lead of 83-80 inside of a minute to go. His long ball on the next possession not only upped his team’s lead to six at 86-80 but also snapped a 9-0 run by the visitors.

Down by 12 at 83-71 with three minutes to go, the Lancers scored nine unanswered points to make for the said three-point difference. It was the closest Grace had been since the opening 30 seconds of play but they would get no closer as Coverstone’s three and a pair of freebies by Devon Merder closed out the game’s scoring for the final eight-point spread.  

Huntington got off to their fastest start of the year by reeling off the evening’s first 18 points. The hosts scored on eight of their first nine possessions while holding the Lancers scoreless over the opening five minutes for the 18-0 skunking. It was an impressive display in front of a packed house and forced Grace to play catch up the rest of the night.

HU held GC at arm’s length the rest of the half for a comfortable 50-35 advantage by the midway point. Mike Bush was his team’s mainstay through the opening twenty minutes as he netted 17 points and handed out six assists with his main targets Konner Platt and Coverstone who finished with 11 and ten points respectively.

It was more of the same through the first 15 minutes of the second period as Huntington’s lead extended to as many as 18 points but never dipped below 12. Jaret Sons finally erased the deficit to single digits at 78-69 when he dropped in his third trey of the night with 5:13 on the clock.

Over the next two minutes, the two teams traded buckets several times to setup the final three minutes which proved to be a rollercoaster of emotion with HU finally getting the last laugh.

Bush finished with a game-best 22 points and a team-high eight assists. Platt added 16 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Trevor Lockwood also netted 16 points, tracked down a game-best seven rebounds and swatted two shots. The 6-8 big man currently ranks 13th in NAIA Division II in total blocks with 39.

Matt Jennings led Grace with 16 points. Sons finished with 15 points. Braxton logged the game’s only double double with ten points and ten assists while Logan Godfrey also chipped in ten points.

The Foresters had their second best shooting performance of the year by going 36-for-64 for 56.3 percent. They went 10-for-12 from the line and committed 12 turnovers. The Lancers finished 31-for-66 for 47.0 percent from the field and made good on 12 of their 13 freebies while coughing up the ball 13 times.

Coming into tonight’s contest, the Lancers (10-15, 3-10) had won their last three games. During their three-game win streak, they shot 53 percent from the field and got to the line 34 times on average.

HU hits the road on Saturday to face #8 Indiana Wesleyan at 3:00 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 274 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.