Things didn't go as planned for the #24-ranked men's Foresters basketball
team (12-3) in their first game after Christmas as they dropped a 72-69 decision to the Saints of Aquinas College (8-8) on Wednesday night.
The Foresters, shooting nearly fifty percent as a team on the season, came out flat to start the contest and quickly found themselves in a seven-point hole, 19-12, midway through the period. Things went from bad to worse as HU managed only two points over the next five minutes allowing the Saints to push the lead to 27-14 with just under six minutes left in the half. Kellen Zawadzki scored five of HU's next seven points to cut the lead to eight at 29-21 but the Saints went on a 13-4 tear to close out the half and take a comfortable 42-25 lead into intermission.
The Foresters connected on 31.4 percent (11-for-35) of their field goal attempts in the first half while the Saints made good on 48.6 percent (17-for-35).
The Saints continued to dominate through the first seven minutes of the second stanza to take their largest lead of the night at 57-32. An offensive put back by Zawadzki on the next possession ignited an 11-4 run that cut the lead to 18 with just over ten minutes left in the half. Bobby Jolliff then took matters into his own hands scoring ten of the Foresters' next 14 points to trim the Saints' lead to seven, 64-57, with just over three minutes left in the contest. Two Saint free throws grew the lead back to nine but a Tyler Shively three and an old fashioned three-point play by Jolliff gave the Forester hopefuls something to cheer about as Aquinas held onto a slim three-point lead at 66-63 with 2:06 on the clock.
Poor shooting came back to haunt the Foresters as they came up short on their next four possessions allowing the Saints to build the lead back to seven with 21 ticks remaining. Shively and Colin Featherston hit back-to-back threes to keep it close but it was too little too late as the Saints came up with enough freebies to ward off a heroic Forester comeback.
Zawadzki led all scorers with 23 points. Jolliff finished with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Shively added 12 points and five steals. Damacious White lead a balanced Aquinas attack with 19 points. Also scoring in double digits for the Saints was Matt Weiss and A.J. Schmidt with 13 each and Brett Pfahler with 11. Jake Shockey grabbed a game-high 12 boards.
The Foresters are back in action on Tuesday, January 4, when the host MCC rival Grace College at 7:00 p.m.