January 23, 2012

Huntingdon men slip against Rust College

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon men's basketball team had its opportunities Monday night.

Trailing by one with less than 30 seconds to play, the Hawks were in position to take the last shot and win the game. Instead, Huntingdon missed three shots under the basket in the final seconds and Rust College hung on to win 83-80.

"We had three chances with time running out and we couldn't get any of the shots to fall," Huntingdon head coach Mike Pugh said. "We took a shot under the basket and missed two put-backs. The opportunity to win was there, we just couldn't make the play.

"We played hard the last five minutes. But one of the things we talked about after the game is we should have been playing that hard the whole game. You've got to play hard for 40 minutes to beat good teams."

Trailing 81-80, Huntingdon's two top scorers both got shots off in the final five seconds. Sophomore Jason Varney drove to the basket but couldn't get his first shot to fall. Varney got the rebound and went up again before Jeremiah Thomas tried to finish the game with a put-back.

Rust's William Montgomery got the rebound, forcing Huntingdon to foul the Bearcats with one second on the clock. Montgomery sank both free throws to make it a three-point game. With one chance left, Huntingdon threw the ball out of bounds on the throw-in. It was the Hawks' 18th and final turnover of the game.

"You can't beat many teams when you have 18 unforced turnovers," Pugh said. "It wasn't really their pressure tonight. We just threw the ball all over the place and they scored 22 points off of our turnovers. That was the difference in the game."

This was the third meeting between the two teams since Jan. 4, and the second win for Rust. The Hawks (6-11) won the first game by three points in the Maryville tournament before Rust (10-10) hosted the Hawks and won by 22.

Courtnee Edgar led Huntingdon with 18 points and Varney added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Thomas recorded his sixth double-double in 17 games, scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Austin Hill and Ryan Petty each finished with 11 points. Hill also finished with seven rebounds. Mike Kilpatrick had six assists.

Larry Veasley and Markeith Wilson each scored 21 points to lead Rust. Montgomery added 13 points and 13 assists and Fabian McPherson followed with 12 points.

The Hawks (2-1 Great South Athletic Conference) return to conference play on Saturday at Piedmont (4-13, 0-2 GSAC).