Huntingdon opens 2017 with win over Belhaven

Andre Ashley (#11) is congratulated after making the go-ahead basket in Tuesday's 62-61 win over Belhaven.
Andre Ashley (#11) is congratulated after making the go-ahead basket in Tuesday's 62-61 win over Belhaven.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Huntingdon men's basketball team is looking forward in 2017.

The Hawks started the new year with a 62-61 win over Belhaven University on Tuesday. The win was the first of the season for the Hawks (1-10).

"We're trying to come in with a clean slate," said Caleb Kimbrough, who coached his first game as the Hawks' head coach on Tuesday. "When coach (Mike) Pugh decided he wanted to step down, the team had to come together and decide we're moving forward and this is what we're going to do. Coach Pugh brought all of these guys into the program and they're all really good guys.

"These guys care and they want to win for each other. A lot of new things are happening, but our guys are catching on quick and are doing a good job. We made it interesting tonight, but I thought we really played together and we got up for each other. That's what I'm really most proud of."

Trailing 61-60 with 31 seconds to play, senior Andre Ashley scored the go-ahead basket to put the Hawks in front for good. Sophomore Brandon McLean blocked a Belhaven shot with five seconds remaining and sophomore Jahal Robinson made a steal in the final seconds to seal the victory.

Ashley and Robinson each finished with 13 points for Huntingdon. Ashley also had seven rebounds and four assists. KK Franklin added nine points and eight rebounds and McLean had nine rebounds and seven points.

The Hawks played from behind for much of the game, but never trailed by more than nine points. When Belhaven (2-8) built its largest lead of the first half, 31-24, a little more than three minutes before the half, Huntingdon answered to pull within two points, 33-31, at halftime.

In the second half, Belhaven led 50-41 with 13:08 to play before a 3-pointer by Scotty Chadwick and back-to-back layups by Franklin and Robinson made it 50-48. In the final 11 minutes, the Hawks never trailed by more than five points.

Huntingdon returns to action on the road this weekend in a pair of USA South Athletic Conference games. The Hawks play at Piedmont on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and at Covenant on Saturday at 3 p.m.

"We're looking at this as a new season and we're taking each game one at a time," Kimbrough said. "We have two games this weekend and right now we're just going to focus on Friday and being prepared for Piedmont."

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