The Goshen College Men’s Basketball team headed out on the road this past Tuesday, Feb. 9, to play Mid-Central Conference (MCC) opponent Huntington University.
Coming off of a tough home loss to 8th nationally-ranked University of Saint Francis, the Maple Leafs were able to pull out a critical 89-82 victory over the Huntington Foresters.
In a closely-contested game, the Leafs outscored the Foresters 49-41 in the second half to erase a one point halftime deficit. The Leafs began the game with an early 7—2 run. A seesaw battle ensued, ending with the Foresters’ Neil Stoffle’s 3-point play to give Huntington a 41-40 edge heading into the break.
The second half was much of the same, with the Leafs and Foresters going back and forth.
With five minutes to go in the contest, the score was knotted at 74 apiece before the Maple Leafs responded with another 7—2 run, capped off with several dunks that gave the Maple Leafs the lead for good.
Jeremy Pope, a junior guard, knew this was an important game going into the evening.
“This game was really important because we know that we have to perform well in the conference tournament to get a chance at nationals,” he said, “especially since [Foresters] Kevin Kyle and Tyler Shively did not play the first time we played them.”
The last time the two teams met, Goshen pulled out an upset against Huntington, who was ranked twelfth in the nation, but was playing without two of their starters, Kyle and Shively. Evidently the return of the two starters was not enough to beat the Leafs, as they improved to a 6 -7 record (15-12 overall) in a highly competitive MCC conference, with the top three teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation and the 4th place team ranked in the top 25.
With three conference games remaining, Goshen looks to take the fourth spot in conference, which is currently held by Spring Arbor, before the conference tournament begins. The Maple Leafs travel to Upland, Ind. to face Taylor on Feb. 13 before playing their last two regular season games at home against Marion and Spring Arbor University on Feb. 16 and Feb. 20 respectively.