Freshman Derek Hinen scored a career-high 33 points and he and Shane Merryman keyed a late run that propelled the Huntington University men's basketball team past visiting Bethel, 87-81, on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
The Foresters, 22-5 overall and 11-4 in the Crossroads League, trailed Bethel by one at 62-61 when Hinen hit a basket in traffic to give HU a lead it would not surrender with just under eight minutes remaining. Merryman, who finished with 19 points, hit a traditional three-point play and then drained a three, and Hinen completed the run with a trey of his own, giving the Foresters a 72-64 advantage with just under five minutes left.
Hinen hit 11 of 13 shots from the field, including 5 of 6 from three-point land, and all six of his free throws. He added a game-high five assists for good measure.
TJ Short added 16 points for HU, which clicked on 31 of 50 shots from the field for 62 percent, including 12 of 22 from beyond the arc for 59.1 percent.
Short also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds as HU won the battle of the boards, 28-23.
Ryan Benner led the Pilots, 21-6 overall and 10-5 in the crossroads, with 31 points. Landon Booker tossed in 15 points and Zach Miller contributed 11.
The game featured 26 lead changes and eight ties, and Bethel led at halftime 37-34.
Hinen banged in 10 of the Foresters' first 12 points on the night, but Bethel worked its way out to a seven-point lead at 32-25 with 3:30 left in the first half. Ryan Boester hit a three-pointer and Short hit two in a row to give HU a 34-32 lead, but Michael Mislan hit a basket, made a steal and fed Booker for an old-fashioned three-point play right at the buzzer for Bethel's halftime advantage.
Short went over the 1,000-point mark in the second half.
Although the Pilots did a good job on Merryman in the first half by limiting him to just four points, the senior came up with 15 points after intermission.
Bethel hit 31 of 62 field goal attempts for an even 50 percent, including hitting 8 of 16 three-point tries for the same 50 percent.