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Huntington pulls off 97-71 upset over #3 Saint Francis

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. - From start to finish it was the Forester men’s basketball team’s most dominant performance of the year as they blew out #3 Saint Francis 97-71 Tuesday night in front on an amped up home crowd.

The W is HU’s third upset in league play this year as they knocked off Indiana Wesleyan, ranked 4th at the time, on December 2 and Bethel, ranked 13th at the time, on January 23.

With three regular season games remaining, Huntington (11-16, 7-8) is now sitting in a three-way tie for fifth with Spring Arbor and Mount Vernon. The loss drops the Cougars to 22-5 overall, 12-3 in the conference for a share of the top spot with Indiana Wesleyan in the standings.

After shooting lights out in the opening twenty minutes, the Foresters got even hotter in the second half to complete the upset. Platt’s crew sizzled the nets at a clip of 60.6 percent in the first half which included going 9-for-15 from downtown to open up 53-28 halftime lead.

The hosts missed just seven shots in the final frame on the way to shooting 72.0 percent for the period (18-for-25) to record their biggest blowout of the year at 26 points.

Most impressive about HU’s play in the second period was the ability to keep their foot on the accelerator. Their composure never wavered as USF closed the gap to 17 but would get no closer as Huntington remained firmly in control throughout the contest to hand the Cougars their largest margin of defeat since 2012 when they lost to Oregon Tech 100-67.

The preseason Crossroads League Player of the Year Bryce Lienhoop was the first to score to give Saint Francis its only lead of the night after which Platt’s crew wasted little time bolting ahead. Tyler Arens was a one-man wrecking crew as he dropped in ten straight points for a 10-2 difference three-and-a-half minutes in.

Ninety seconds later Mike Bush scored on a USF turnover to up the lead to double digits, 14-4, where it stayed the rest of the evening. The 5-7 playmaker did a little bit of everything for his team by finishing with 20 points, 12 assists and five rebounds.

Konner Platt tossed in 19 points with all but four of his points coming from long range to go along with four assists. Arens finished with 16 points. Trevor Lockwood tallied the game’s only double double with 13 points and ten boards. He also handed out four dimes and swatted three shots.

Zac Owens was perfect in his 20 minutes of PT by going 5-for-5 from the field, including a three, and 1-for-1 from the charity stripe for 12 points. The rookie guard also scooped up five rebounds and dished out two assists. Devon Merder was Forester No. 6 to score in double digits with 11 points. 

Lienhoop topped Saint Francis with 19 points. Chandler White collected 17 points while Stephen Turner came off the bench to add 11 points and corral a team-best six rebounds.

The Foresters finished 38-for-58 from the field for 65.5 percent while limiting USF, ranked 8th nationally in field goal percentage, to 43.8 percent (28-for-64). HU cleaned up on the boards, 35-23, but while committing 13 miscues to USF’s nine.  

The Foresters road trip to #RV Marian on Saturday for a 3:00 pm. tip-off with the Knights.

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.