MARION, Ind. -- Huntington (Ind.) University hit shot after shot in the second half to break open a game that was tied at halftime as No. 6-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University men fell 84-76 Tuesday night in Luckey Arena.
Huntington (10-6, 2-2 MCC) shot a blistering 60.9-percent (14 of 23) and totaled 21-of-32 from the free throw line en route to a 52 point half. Overall, Huntington hit 52.1-percent (25 of 48) from the field and attempted 39 shot from the charity stripe.
"They got the ball where they wanted in the post," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Greg Tonagel. "They got to the free throw line. That was a big key for us and we just didn't execute."
The Indiana Wesleyan (11-5, 3-1 MCC) woes continue as the team has lost five of its last seven contests following a nine game winning streak to open the season. IWU's shooting problems were evident again Tuesday as the Wildcats were 41.2-percent (28 of 68) from the field.
One bright spot for Indiana Wesleyan was the renewed success from the arc as IWU hit 8-of-17 from deep (47.1-percent). Indiana Wesleyan also secured 13 offensive boards and committed just nine turnovers.
"That's been the frustrating point," added Tonagel. "If it's not one thing it's another with this team. We keep plugging holes and we find more leaks. We just have to shore up and be better in every facet of the game."
Huntington led by as many as seven points (13-6) during the first half of action. Indiana Wesleyan would tie the score at 18-18 and later gained their largest lead of the half at five (30-25). IWU seemed destined to head into halftime with the lead but Huntington scored four points in the final 50 seconds to tie the score at 32-32.
The Wildcats scored the first four points of the second half and held the lead for the first 10 plus minutes of the half. IWU looked poised to blow open the game with an eight point lead (46-38) on a Patrick Hopkins free throw with 15 minutes remaining.
But over the next five minutes Huntington's offense caught on fire. HU claimed their first lead of the second half at 54-53 with 9:29 on the clock, courtesy of a 16-7 spurt. Hopkins responded for IWU on the next possession but Ryan Boester quickly answered for Huntington with a shot from the base line. That basket put the Foresters in front for good.
The next four and a half minutes was a tight affair as the Huntington lead held between one and three points. A 3-pointer by Nick Teeter upped the HU lead to 67-61 as part of an 8-0 run. By that time, Huntington led a commanding 70-62 advantage with 2:30 to play.
Indiana Wesleyan continued to foul as they lengthened the game. IWU got as close as five points (81-76) with 13 seconds left, but it was too little too late.
Indiana Wesleyan will not have much time to regroup as tonight's game was the first of three this week. IWU will travel to Spring Arbor (Mich.) University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 5 before returning home on at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 7 with a home date against No. 12-ranked Goshen (Ind.) College.