MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon men's basketball team controlled the tempo early Monday and maintained its composure late to hold off a Pensacola Christian rally.
After leading by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Hawks held on for an 84-81 win.
"This was a good win against a good team," Huntingdon head coach Mike Pugh said. "They did some things that gave us trouble and we didn't have an answer for their 6-foot-9 presence (Jon Andrews) inside. We did a poor job at the free-throw line again, but fortunately it didn't cost us this time.
"On the positive side, we only committed eight turnovers and when the game was on the line we didn't panic. We've lost a few games this year because of panic when the game got tight. We were calmer tonight. Ryan Petty did a good job running the point and Jason Varney came off the bench, did a good job and had a calming effect on the team. We're starting to have a better understanding of our roles and that makes a difference."
The Hawks (5-9) were just 14-of-25 from the free-throw line and 6-for-10 in the final two minutes. But Huntingdon made the plays it had to have.
Varney hit 4-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes and Jeremiah Thomas and Jerrod Lee were each 1-for-2. Varney hit a pair of free throws to make it an 84-79 game with 11 seconds left. PCC (5-8) answered with an Andrews field goal with two seconds to play and fouled Varney with one second left.
Varney couldn't connect on either free throw, but with less than a second to play after PCC inbounded the ball, the Eagles could not get off a final shot.
Jake Hataway hit six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points to lead Huntingdon. Thomas finished with 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks, Petty added 13 points, seven assists and four steals and Courtnee Edgar had 12 points. Jamal Bias had seven rebounds and Austin Hill finished with nine points, six rebounds and four steals.
Huntingdon hosts Birmingham-Southern on Wednesday at 7 p.m.