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HU opens up Hall of Fame weekend with 99-92 win over RedHawks

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The HU men’s basketball team outlasted IU Northwest on opening night of the Ness Bros. Hall of Fame Tournament, 99-92, to advance to the championship game on Saturday where they will face Trinity International University at 3:00 p.m.

The Foresters have advanced to the championship game of this annual tourney every year of Coach Platt’s ten-year coaching career.

Huntington could do no wrong through the opening two-and-a-half minutes as they sprinted out to a 13-2 advantage with three different Foresters canning long balls to fire up an energetic home crowd. While Coach Platt’s crew cooled off after that, they still maintained a 13-point advantage of 25-12, the largest spread of the game, with 11 minutes left in the half.

However, a scoring drought ensued and the RedHawks took full advantage to draw the game’s first tie at 25s with just under eight minutes on the clock. It was the first of 12 ties and the start of 12 lead changes that were mainly contained in the next seven minutes.

Jovan Jackson’s freebie with 55 ticks left in the first half forced the 11th tie after which Mike Bush cashed in on two free throws and Kyle Platt drilled a three at the buzzer to give Huntington a 54-49 advantage at the halfway point.

Minus one possession at the midway point of the second stanza and a stalemate with six minutes remaining, the back-and-forth play was over as HU held a lead over their visitors for all but those few seconds to punch their ticket to the championship game.

While Huntington remained in control, IU Northwest stayed within striking distance as an eight-point spread was the biggest gap of the final twenty minutes. Several Foresters stepped up at different times to prevent any sort of heroic comeback by their visitors with the play of Tyler Arens highlighting the period.

After scoring 11 points through the opening twenty minutes, the 6-8 forward poured in 17 in the second half to finished with a game-best 28 points. He also collected 11 rebounds for the double double to go along with two blocks and two assists.

Mike Bush and Trevor Lockwood also did their part in the final frame to ensure the W. Each posted nine points in addition to Bush handing out five assists and Lockwood pulling down three of his team’s ten second half offensive rebounds.

Bush recorded 27 points and nine assists on the night while Lockwood added 11 points and six boards.

Rashad Richardson finished with 22 points as one of four RedHawks in double digits. Other scorers for IUNW included James Nabors with 15, Chris Dixson-Williams with 12 and Armoni Shorter with 11.

Both teams shot the ball similarly with HU connecting on 43.8 percent of their shots (32-for-73) while IU Northwest knocked down 44.7 percent of their attempts (34-for-76). Each squad drained 11 three-pointers but the discrepancy came at the charity stripe where Huntington went 24-for-32 while the RedHawks managed to go 13-for-19.

The Foresters won the battle of the boards 52-40 which included grabbing 19 offensive rebounds to the tune of 17 second chance points but the RedHawks committed fewer errors to finish with ten turnovers to HU’s 15.

With tonight’s win, Platt’s crew improves to 2-2 on the year while IU Northwest drops to 2-3.

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.