Merryman helps HU dig out of hole as Foresters top Trojans

Shane Merryman.
Photo provided.

Junior Shane Merryman keyed a 14-0 run late in the first half to erase a 13-point deficit and the Huntington University men's basketball team held off visiting Taylor University , 63-59, on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Merryman hit a pair of 3-pointers among nine points to lift the Foresters, 14-13, 5-10, from a 24-11 deficit with 8:33 to go in the half into a 25-24 advantage with 1:54, and the Foresters trailed by just one at the half, 26-25. The second half was a seesaw battle with six ties, but the Foresters pulled ahead in the last three minutes and were able to hold on against the 20th-ranked Trojans, 19-8, 11-4.

The game's last tie came with a tick over four minutes left on the clock on a Ryan Boester three-pointer for Huntington that knotted things up at 53-53. From there, the Foresters never looked back, making 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.

Merryman led Huntington with 24 points, which included a perfect 8 for 8 showing at the charity stripe. Alec Peterson made 5 of 6 shots to add 10 points to the team's cause and Boester and T.J. Short each came with eight points, the latter pairing his with a game-high 11 rebounds.

Casey Coons paced Taylor with a game-high 25 points, the majority of which came from beyond the arc, where he made 7 of 14. Nate Kasper followed with 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting and Tommy Peller added 10 points.

The teams were nearly dead-even in shooting, with the Trojans making 23 of 49 for 46.9 percent and the Foresters netting 21 of 45 for 46.7.

Huntington had a decided advantage at the free-throw line, however, sinking 14 of 18 for 77.8 percent to Taylor's 3 for 7 for 42.9.

Boester was the Foresters' top man in assists with four, and Stephen Jones added three steals to the cause.