HUNTINGTON, Ind. - Up by six with just over a minute remaining, it looked like the No. 20 Forester men’s basketball team (14-3, 4-1) was on their way to upsetting No. 15 Indiana Wesleyan University (13-4, 3-2) Wednesday night at Platt Arena but Jordan Weidner decided otherwise as his long range fader tickled the bottom of the net to send the game to overtime where the Wildcats took charge for the 89-77 win.
The Wildcats were relentless in the extra period, taking an 80-73 lead within the first minute of play to establish an advantage that would never really be challenged. Ryan Boester cut the deficit to five with two minutes to go but it was all IWU after that as they closed out the contest with a 9-2 run to steal the hard-to-come-by league road win.
Regulation proved to be somewhat of a gracious playdate between the conference foes as each team took turns sharing the lead throughout the night.
Behind a balance attack, Huntington spent the first 14 minutes enjoying the lead. They built the cushion to ten, 26-16, on a Derek Hinen trey at the 6:38 mark but it was IWU’s turn after that as the Foresters turned the ball over on six of its final 14 possessions. The Wildcats pounced on the opportunity by outscoring their hosts 23-6 to take a 39-32 lead into break.
Wesleyan went on to build their advantage to ten at 48-38 by the 15:34 mark but it was HU’s turn once again. TJ Short caught fire to single-handedly cracked the Wildcats’ defense by draining four triples in a six-minute span to turn his team’s ten point deficit into a seven point advantage of 62-55 by with just over nine minutes remaining.
Huntington hung onto the lead until the bitter end of regulation. Up by three with four ticks remaining, Platt’s squad had a chance to ice the game with a pair of freebies but could only get one to go down leaving the door open for Weidner’s heroics.
HU outshot their visitors, converting 47.6 percent (30-for-63) of their attempts to IWU’s 41.4 percent (29-for-70), and also won the battle of the boards 42-39 but two glaring differences proved to be Huntington’s downfall. The Foresters coughed up the ball 24 times while the Wildcats’ managed only 13 miscues. IWU also got to the line almost three times as often as their hosts, knocking down 24 of their 30 attempts while Huntington went 6-for-11 from the line.
Short poured in a season-best 22 points. Hinen tallied 12 to go along with a game-high 11 boards for the second double double of his collegiate career. Shane Merryman and Alec Peterson finished with 11 and ten points respectively.
Weidner and Bob Peters scored 22 points apiece to pace IWU. RJ Mahurin was the only other double digit scorer with 19.
The Foresters will look to get back on the win column on Saturday when they host Goshen at 3:00 p.m.