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IWU knocks HU out of league tourney

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MARION, Ind. – The 7th-seeded HU men’s basketball team’s season came to an end Wednesday night after a 109-100 overtime loss at 2nd-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads League Tournament.

Luckey Arena hasn’t been an easy place for opponents to play in this year as evidenced by IWU’s 13-1 record when playing on their home turf but the Foresters didn’t seem daunted.

Mason Coverstone got HU off on the right foot by scoring the game’s first four points after which Konner Platt spent the next two minutes netting six points for a 10-4 lead just three minutes into the contest.

Based on their fast start, it was obvious the Foresters came to do battle. Aside from a one-minute stretch that IWU held a one possession advantage, Coach Platt’s crew owned the first half. They shot an impressive 61.1 percent from the field through the first 20 minutes to take a 49-40 lead into break.

Mike Bush led a balanced attack with 12 first half points while Coverstone and Platt added nine apiece.

A balanced offense continued to be Huntington’s trend after intermission with buckets by Daniel Woll and Tyler Arens and a pair of freebies by Trevor Lockwood extended the lead to ten on three different occasions with their last double digit advantage, 61-51, coming with just under 16 minutes to go.

However, IWU also boasts an arsenal of offensive weapons and over the next three minutes, the Wildcats pieced together a 10-0 run with Ben Carlson and Bob Peters scoring all but two of those points to force the game’s first of five deadlocks.

The Wildcats, ranked 5th in the most recent national poll, relied mainly on Lane Mahurin and Jacob Johnson over the next 13 minutes as the twosome combined to score 22 of their team’s next 27 points in regulation. It was a battle to the bitter end as IWU took over the lead by the midway point of the half on the way to building a seven-point cushion, 79-72, with six minutes to go before the Foresters rallied back behind Woll. The 6-7 forward scored eight points, six from the line, in a 16-6 HU run to put his team back on top, 86-83, with just over two minutes remaining.

Mahurin came up with some big plays at both ends of the floor after that by cashing in on a traditional three-point play, swatting HU’s shot at the other end of the floor and then scoring down low with just under a minute remaining in regulation for an 88-86 IWU tilt.

After empty possessions by both teams, Bush took the ball the length of the floor and kissed a shot of the backboard with less than two ticks remaining to send the game to OT.

Unfortunately, overtime favored the Wildcats after Woll, attempting to draw a charge, was whistled for his fifth foul just under a minute into OT. It was a game-changing call as it spurred a 10-2 Wesleyan run that Huntington couldn’t recover from as the lead ballooned to as many as 12 before IWU settled for the nine-point win.

Woll finished his career in green and white with 21 points, 17 of which came after halftime, and six rebounds. Bush also poured in 21 points to go along with a team-high seven assists. Coverstone added 19 points. Arens chipped in 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds while Platt finished with 11 points.

Mahurin topped all scored with 30 points while handing out nine assists and ripping down eight boards. Johnson tallied 22 points while Carlson and Peters contributed 14 and 13 respectively.

The Foresters shot 52.1 percent for the game (38-for-73) and connected on 18 of their 22 free throw attempts for 81.8 percent. They outrebounded their hosts 38-32 and committed 13 turnovers to IWU’s eight.

HU wraps up the year with a 16-15 record. The Wildcats (25-6) advance to the semifinals of the league tourney where they will host 3rd-seeded Saint Francis on Saturday 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 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.