FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The No. 20 University of Saint Francis Cougars (14-2; 2-2 Crossroads) responded from a heartbreaking loss on Monday night by upending the Huntington University Foresters (9-4; 2-3 Crossroads) 77-66 with a stellar defensive first half Wednesday evening in Hutzell Athletic Center.
The Cougars took control in the first half. After they found themselves tied with the Foresters at 13 six minutes into the game, they found an offensive rhythm.
Sophomore guard David Ejah got the ball in the paint and put up a layup to put Saint Francis ahead 15-13 and they build upon their lead from there. Through the next 10 minutes, the Cougars outscored the Foresters 18-2, and led 37-19 going into halftime.
Through the first half the Cougars doubled the Foresters in rebounds 20-10, prevented Huntington from shooting a single free throw in the first 20 minutes of play, and outscored the Foresters 24-8 in the paint.
As the second half got underway, the Cougars continued their reign over the Foresters by extending their lead to 24 points. However, the Foresters wouldn't go quietly and began chipping away at the deficit until the Cougars had to call a timeout, leading now by just 11 with nine minutes left.
After the timeout, the Cougars regained their composure and built their lead back up. The final minutes were a back and forth battle until the clock expired and the Cougars' early lead stood.
Throughout the game the Cougars shot 54 percent from the floor, 36 percent from beyond the three-point line, and 63 percent from the free throw line. Four Cougars starters scored double-digits: junior guard Jalan Mull (15), sophomore guard Dan McKeeman (14), junior guard Antwaan Cushingberry (17), and Ejah who led the team with 21 points. Ejah also led the team in rebounds with 14 for his eighth double-double on the season.
"Our guys did a good job of not only executing offensively but defensively as well," Head Coach Chad LaCross said. "Executing defensively was key for us. We had 21 stops in their last 24 possessions in the first half and I couldn't have been more pleased with the way they defended."
The Cougars resume play Friday afternoon when they play host to the University of Northwestern Ohio Racers for a non-conference game in Hutzell Athletic Center beginning at 2:00 pm.