The Goshen men’s basketball team got off to a quick start against Mount Vernon Nazarene University Saturday afternoon, and was able to hold strong and earn a 72-63 victory at home.The Maple Leafs jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after two minutes of play in a game during which Goshen never trailed. A pair of made free throws from Kevin Phillips, a junior, created Goshen’s biggest lead of the contest, 17-4, with 11:22 left in the first half. However, the Cougars stayed afloat and reduced the lead down to six at the break, 31-25 in favor of Goshen.
The second half was much closer than Goshen fans would have liked, with the score tied up on three separate occasions in the last ten minutes, including 58-58 with just under five minutes left. Then Dominique Bolden, a senior, scored five consecutive points, followed by Austin Hayden, a first-year, adding five points of his own and giving Goshen a 69-59 advantage. Christian Grider, a sophomore, knocked down two free throws and Devin Heath-Granger, a sophomore, added one more as the Maple Leafs finished off with a 72-63 win.
Goshen shot 82.1 percent (23-of-28) from the charity stripe and won the rebound battle 35 to 34. Mount Vernon’s bench scored 22 points, while Goshen’s only contributed 10. However, the Maple Leafs tallied 11 second-chance points off of seven offensive rebounds while the Cougars only scored four points off of five offensive boards.
Hayden led the way for the Leafs with a career-high of 22 points. Conner Funkhouser, a sophomore, recorded the game’s only double-double, putting up 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Bolden also tallied double-digit scoring with 10.
The Maple Leafs were back in action on Tuesday as they stayed home to take on Indiana Wesleyan University in Gunden Gymnasium, losing the contest 83-73. Goshen returns to the hardwood on Saturday when the team travels to Huntington to take on the Foresters.
With the win over Mount Vernon over the weekend and the loss against IWU on Tuesday, the Maple Leafs sit at 14-11 on the season and 6-7 in the Crossroads League, putting them in seventh place with five games remaining in the regular season.