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Tolson’s freebies with 0.4 seconds remaining lift CCU past HU 60-58

HUNTINGTON, Ind. - With 0.4 seconds on the clock, Makenzie Tolson calmly sank a pair of freebies to lift Cincinnati Christian University past the Huntington women’s basketball team 60-58 Friday afternoon in the Foresters’ final game of 2017.

HU has had a rough go of it as of late having lost five of their last six contests to drop to 9-6 overall. The win is just the Eagles second W of the year as they improve to 2-10.

Tolson’s free tosses came on the heels of an impressive comeback by Huntington to squelch what would have been an epic ending for the hosts. Down by 14, 51-37, early in the fourth quarter, the Foresters reeled off 18 straight points to surge ahead 55-51 with 49 ticks remaining. The eight-minute stretch saw HU force six turnovers on the way to holding CCU scoreless while at the other end of the floor, Maddie Richer took charge of the offense.

The 18-0 run was spurred by two long balls on back-to-back possessions by Casey Morton and Richer. Richer would go on to score eight more points which included a second triple that gave her team the 55-51 advantage with just under a minute remaining.

The junior floor general would go on to can three of her four free throw attempts after that but it wouldn’t be enough as the Eagles fought back with a vengeance to score nine points in the final 32 seconds for the stunning finish.

Dan’Shae Hill scored CCU’s first five points on a baseline fade away and three-pointer after which LeTisha Caldwell was left alone under the basketball to knot things up at 58s with four ticks remaining. HU had a chance at the win but Tolson made sure that didn’t happen by stealing the inbounds pass at half court. It was a foot race to the other end at that point with the 5-6 guard drawing the foul to setup her game-winning heroics.

The first half proved to be Huntington’s demise. After jetting out to a 10-2 advantage through the opening five minutes, the wheels feel off for Coach Culler and crew as they managed just 11 points over the next 15 minutes, which included logging just five points in the second quarter, to find themselves in a 34-21 hole by the midway point.

The Eagles took advantage of HU’s 25 turnovers to the tune of 26 points and had one of their best shooting performances of the year at 49.0 percent (24-for-49). Huntington finished 22-for-47 for 46.8 percent from the field and enjoyed a 30-21 rebounding advantage which included scoring 11 points on nine offensive boards.

Richer topped all scorers with a career-best 22 points, with 12 of those points coming from long range. Sarah Fryman chipped in 12 points as the Foresters’ only other double-digit scorer. Brooke Saylor tallied a game-best 16 rebounds to go along with four assists, three blocks and three steals.

Tolson and Hill each finished with 15 points to lead the Eagles while Caldwell added ten.

Huntington will look for a fresh start in 2018 as they jump back into league play by hosting #RV Taylor University on January 3 at 6:00 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.