CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Eagles of Cincinnati Christian University were the spoilers to the #13 HU men’s basketball team’s perfect season as they handed the Foresters their first loss of the year, a 71-61 loss Saturday afternoon. With this loss, Huntington drops to 12-1 while CCU improves to 8-3.
On paper, it looked like the contest would feature plenty of offensive firepower as both teams entered the contest each holding at least three top ten offensive national rankings but the game played out much differently.
Both squads scored at least 20 points less than their season average with Huntington’s biggest hiccup coming behind the 3-point line where they went 0-for-12 while their counterparts knocked down seven of their 14 attempts.
Huntington opened up an early lead but it was short-lived as the game only featured one tie and three lead changes with the Eagles taking a permanent lead ten minutes into the game. Trailing by one, 16-17, CCU scored at the 9:54 mark to spur an 11-2 run that gave the hosts a 27-19 lead from which Huntington never recovered.
Cincinnati Christian went on to grow the lead to the game’s largest margin, 35-24, with just over two minutes remaining in the half before cruising to an eight-point advantage of 38-30 by intermission.
The Foresters played even with the Eagles in the second half but weren’t able to make any significant dent into the lead until the waning minutes of play. Down 64-54 with just under five minutes remaining, HU reeled off seven straight points to trim the lead to three at 64-61 by the 2:04 mark.
Much to the chagrin of Coach Platt and his squad, nothing went right for the visitors after that as the Eagles returned the favor by registering the game’s next seven points to close out the game by building the lead back to double digits.
Shane Merryman and Derek Hinen paced HU with 20 and 19 points respectively. Alec Peterson took home game-high rebounding honors with eight.
Cincinnati Christian had four Eagles in double digits with DJ McCommons leading the way with 19 points followed by Michael Hill with 13, Kenny Gaynor with 11 and Willie McKinney with 10.
HU shot 43.1 percent (22-for-51) for the game to the Eagles’ 46.6 percent (27-for-58). CCU out-rebounded the Foresters 37-28.
Huntington is off until after Christmas when they host Lawrence Technology on December 28 at 3:00 p.m.