FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Playing with a 'refuse to lose' mentality, the University of Saint Francis won its first Crossroads League game of the season securing an 80-75 decision over Huntington University on Tuesday night.
USF senior Chandler White joined the USF '1,000-points club' and junior Connor Lautzenheiser scored a season-high 27 points in the Cougars' 55th win in the series, which is now deadlocked at 55 wins apiece in 110 games.
White became the 38th Cougar to score 1,000 or more career points dropping in 14-much need points in the second half to finish with 18. He has 1,019 points and is No. 35 on the list.
"A gutsy win with huge performances from Connor and Chandler," USF Head Coach Chad LaCross emphasized. "Jeff (Reynolds) came off the bench and did a great job defensively and provided a spark."
After 10 ties in the first 28 minutes, Lautzenheiser gave the Cougars the lead for good connecting on two free throws with 10:31 to play. His free throws broke a deadlock at 59 and he stretched the USF lead to five, 64-59, when he buried a 3-pointer with 10:04 after an HU turnover. Lautzenheiser rifled in another 3-pointer after an HU bucket to give the Cougars a 67-61 lead with 9:33 to play.
"Hunter (Hollowell) stayed poised and didn't force anything when they were face guarding him and was still able to knock down opportunities he got from the perimeter," LaCross noted. "It was a great team win."
A mini-five point run drew the Foresters back within a point, 67-66 with 6:47 to play after two Caleb Middlesworth free throws. USF freshman Brandan Johnson finger-rolled in a basket from the baseline to halt HU comeback thoughts momentarily for a 69-66 lead with 6:17 to play. White got in the 3-point parade splashing in a trey at 5:06 for a 72-66 USF lead. HU remained within striking distance, but the Cougars kept answering. Hunter Hollowell hit a short J from the paint for a 78-71 USF lead at 2:30 and White scored at 1:39 for an 80-73 lead. USF didn't score again with Austin Compton and White missing the front end of bonus possibilities.
The Foresters missed two wide-open looks from 3-point range and six of its last seven shots in the final 1:23.
USF outscored HU 41-35 in the final 20 minutes after trailing 40-39 at halftime. The Cougars shot .552 overall (16 for 29) in the second half, .750 from 3-point range connecting on 6-of-8. For the game, USF outworked HU on the glass controlling a 42-25 advantage. White collected a USF-leading eight while David Miller and Lautzenheiser grabbed six apiece. USF had an 11-6 advantage on the offensive glass.