SPRING ARBOR, Mich. - The Forester men’s basketball team didn’t have an answer for Chris Bellamy as the Cougar guard exploded for a career-best 38 points to fuel his Spring Arbor University squad to an 86-79 victory over HU Tuesday night at Bockwitz Court.
The 6-2 senior was a one-man wrecking crew for SAU, connecting on 12 of his 17 shots, which included going 4-for-6 from deep, and missing only one free throw in his 11 attempts to account for nearly half of his team’s offensive production. He also grabbed nine boards in his star-studded performance.
Both teams share identical 2-4 records in Crossroads play along with Marian University in a bottleneck for sixth place in league standings. HU drops to 11-7 overall while SAU improves to 12-6.
Shane Merryman tallied 21 points to pace Huntington. Alec Peterson chipped in 15 points to go along with a game-tying nine rebounds. Colin Featherston added 14 points while TJ Short and Ryan Boester tossed in 11 and ten points respectively.
With the scored tied at 4-4 after three and a half minutes of play, the Cougars exploded with a 23-8 run behind 15 points behind the hot-handed Bellamy to open a 27-12 lead at the 9:10 mark.
The Foresters were quick to respond with a 14-2 run over a five-minute stretch to trim the lead to three at 29-26. HU’s bigs, Merryman and Tyler Arrowsmith, combined for nine of the 14 points to keep the game within reach.
The half’s final five minutes featured a pair of Cougar treys as Spring Arbor outscored HU by three to take a 37-31 lead into break.
Peterson’s old fashioned three-point play within the first two minutes of the second stanza pulled the visitors with one at 39-38 but Matt Van Pelt made sure his team didn’t surrender the lead as he reeled off eight points in a 90-second span to give the Cougars an eight-point cushion of 50-42.
Bellamy took over for Van Pelt after that by logging half of the Cougars’ final 36 points to make sure the lead stuck. The Cougars built a 14-point lead of 74-60 with just over three minutes remaining but a pesky Huntington squad still had some fight left.
Behind back-to-back three-point plays by Featherston, HU trimmed the lead to five at 78-73 with :45 seconds remaining but they would get no closer as Bellamy and crew hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Both teams took care of the ball with the Cougars committing eight mistakes to HU’s 11 while the Foresters held a slight 33-28 rebounding advantage.
SAU knocked down 54.4 percent of their shot attempts which included going 8-for-16 from long range. On the other end, Huntington struggled behind the arc, going 5-for-17, and finished the contest shooting 48.2 percent from the field.
In addition to Bellamy's 38 points, the Cougars placed three others in double digits. Matt Howe and Rob Hogans finished with 13 apiece while Van Pelt added ten.
The Foresters return to the friendly confines of Platt Arena where they are 8-2 this year to face Goshen College on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.