GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The HU men’s basketball team (9-5) stretched its win streak to five by stealing a 68-63 road win from 24th-ranked Cornerstone University (9-4) Thursday evening.
The Foresters entered the contest as the hottest shooting team in NAIA Division II, ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage (51.5%) and 3-point field goal percentage (42.6%). While HU struggled behind the arc, going 1-for-13, they lived up to their #1 billing in total field goal percentage by shooting 51.0 percent (26-for-51) for the game.
HU held the Golden Eagles to 40.3 percent (25-for-62) shooting and enjoyed a lopsided 42-29 rebounding advantage. Cornerstone won the turnover battle by committing 12 to HU’s 19.
After spotting the Golden Eagles an eight-point advantage to start the contest, the Foresters spent the rest of the half playing catch up before piecing together a solid second half to pull off the upset.
The Golden Eagles took the largest lead of the night at 17-8 with just over twelve minutes remaining in the first period, but HU finally got on track with an 11-4 run behind six points from Colin Featherston to trim the lead to two at 21-19.
Cornerstone wasted no time countering the Foresters by piecing together their own run to build the lead back to eight with two minutes left in the half but it wouldn’t stand as Alec Peterson scored a pair of buckets, which included a buzzer beater, to trim the lead to 32-29 by halftime.
Peterson picked up where he left off by knocking down two more shots down low in the first three minutes of the second period to give the visitors their first led of the game at 35-32.
Things were looking up for Huntington but the Golden Eagles didn’t go down without a fight as they reclaimed the lead twice in the final 15 minutes of the contest. Their last lead came with just over four mintues remaining when they clung to a five-point advantage of 61-56 but Shane Merryman and company made sure it didn’t stick.
After Ryan Boester and Peterson each tossed in two points, Merryman reeled off the game’s next four points to turn HU’s one-point deficit into a three-point lead.
Featherston took over after that, knocking down two charity tosses and his fifth field goal of the night to seal the win.
Merryman finished with 24 points to lead all scorers. Peterson recorded his second double double of the season tying his season-best with 15 points and game-high 11 rebounds. Featherston was the only other Forester in double digits with 12.
The Golden Eagles were led by Wes Hudson and Shane Moreland who finished with 18 and 11 points respectively.