The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 31, 2013

College basketball: Saints knock 13th-ranked foe

Special to the Herald

---- — HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Four Saints scored in double figures Monday night as the 23rd-ranked Ashford University men's basketball team picked up a big road win over 13th-ranked Huntington University (Ind.), 64-57, in the first game coming out of the Christmas break.

Junior Tevin Harris set a career-high with 18 points, 12 coming in the second half, for a Saints team that notched the program's first win over a nationally ranked opponent since Jan. 4, 2012, when AU downed 16th-ranked Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids.

"The break was good for us both physically and mentally," AU coach Oliver Drake said. "Our practices leading up to this trip were really good, and we put ourselves in a spot to win tonight. We're going to enjoy this one tonight. These guys deserve it the way they played, but at the same time we expect them to be ready to go (at 3 p.m. today) so we can finish this business trip off the right way against a good Grace team."

Junior guards DeAndre Lowery (15 points) and Anthony Woods (10 points) also finished in double digits, while senior Thaddeus Perry chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double as AU improved to 12-5.

Shane Merryman finished with a game-high 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds for the Foresters (13-2), who suffered their first home loss of the season in nine games.

Ashford held the advantage from the opening tip, leading by as many as six points through the game's opening nine minutes.

Trailing 23-18, the Foresters ripped off an 11-0 run, capped by a Merryman jumper to make it 29-23 with six minutes left in the opening half.

But the Saints tilted the momentum back in their favor, outscoring the hosts 11-3 over the remainder of the half to take a 34-32 lead at the halftime horn.

AU extended their lead to a game-high 10 points in the second half, but the lead dwindled to 57-55 with 1:30 to play after a 6-0 Huntington run, forcing the Saints to call a timeout.

A quick pep talk proved to be just what the Saints needed, as Harris knocked down a long 3-pointer on the next possession to put the game out of reach.

"We told our guys in that timeout to settle down and stick to our system," Drake said. "We were able to get Tevin a good look that way, and he's one of our best shooters and he made no mistake. We told them they had to earn it when they stepped out on that floor tonight and they did just that."