Maple Leafs Push Huntington To The Brink Behind 71 Points From Starting Backcourt
Geschke scores 30, two tab double-doubles in barn-burner
HUNTINGTON, Ind. — A furious comeback in regulation gave way to disappointment in overtime Tuesday night as Goshen College dropped a Crossroads League men’s basketball game 100-97 at Huntington University.
The Foresters (7-14, 3-6) took leads of 11-2 in the first two minutes and 32-14 after just more than eight minutes. Goshen (10-11, 3-6) countered with a 17-6 run but still trailed 55-42 at halftime.
Billy Geschke scored 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting to lead the Maple Leafs: Devin Heath-Granger added a career-high 24 with 10 assists while Christian Grider scored 17 and Alhassan Barrie chipped in a double-double of 11 points and as many rebounds. Geschke, Grider and Heath-Granger, the three senior guards in the starting lineup, combined for 71 points.
Mike Bush paced Huntington with 32 rebounds and 14 assists. The Foresters also got a more conventional double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds from Trevor Lockwood, whose lone steal set up Konner Platt’s game-winning bucket with 0.7 seconds to play.
The Huntington lead grew to 23 points after halftime and had shrunk by just four to 74-55 with 13:30 remaining. Conner Funkhouser and Devin Heath-Granger combined to strike the first blow, a 7-0 run, to get the margin down to a dozen just inside the 12-minute mark.
After a brief exchange of baskets, Goshen’s defense locked down the Foresters and held Huntington without a basket for almost five minutes. HU went 0-for-5 from the floor in that spurt, turning the ball over once in addition to having shots blocked by Heath-Granger and Colton Noel. The Maple Leafs hit four of five shots in the same window, with Carter Boos scoring five points in a 10-0 run to pull within 81-76.
Huntington’s edge stayed within two possessions for the next four minutes: a pair of Christian Grider foul shots pulled the Maple Leafs with four points at the 4:06 mark. After each team missed a shot on its next possession, Forester guard Mike Bush was fouled and made one of two shots with 2:29 remaining.
Billy Geschke responded with three of his team-high 30 points on the other end: with 2:11 to play, Goshen trailed 88-86. The lead was Huntington’s smallest of the game: the hosts had taken a 3-0 edge after 14 seconds and pulled away ever since.
Both teams missed on each of their next three possessions, with Goshen squandering the front end of a one-and-one with the clock stopped at 1:34. The Foresters got the ball back with 46 seconds left: with the shot clock on and a timeout at their disposal. Goshen got the stop, Heath-Granger pulled down the rebound and the Leafs called time with 15 seconds to play.
After an inbound play into the backcourt, Geschke took the ball at the head of the key. Driving the right side of the free-throw lane, he sent a right-handed layup off the backboard, tickling the twine to tie the score at 88 with 8.3 seconds remaining. Bush’s turnaround jumper in the lane missed to the right as time expired and sent the game into overtime.
Colton Noel won the tip for GC: the Maple Leafs’ first points of the extra session, another Geschke triple with 1:14 gone, gave Goshen its first lead of the game. After Huntington answered, Barrie put the Maple Leafs back ahead with a score from the paint.
Huntington got its first lead of OT with 94 seconds left: after a foul, Bush sank one of two free throws for a 94-93 edge. He missed the second shot, though, and Heath-Granger scored on the other end to swing the one-point margin back in Goshen’s favor.
Following a stop on the other end, Heath-Granger drained another shot with 48 seconds left to give him a career-high 24 points and put the Leafs up three.
Bush answered with a game-tying 3-pointer at the :35.1 mark; the score gave Goshen the ball back with no timeouts and too much time to hold for the final shot. With the shot clock winding down, a pass inside came too high for Noel to handle with seven seconds to play. Platt’s game-winner came six dribbles and a kick-out later.
The Foresters finished off the game with their hot hands, shooting 15-for-24 (62.5 percent) from long range. The team had hit almost that often from the floor for the first 20 minutes, going 20-for-33 (60.6 percent) in the first half before cooling off to 35.3 percent (12-for-34) after the break.
Heath-Granger and Geschke combined to go 14-for-18 from the floor in the second half to fuel the Goshen comeback: the Maple Leafs out-rebounded Huntington 27-15 in that span with Barrie collecting nine of his caroms. Goshen finished 20-for-35 (57.1 percent) from the floor over the last 25 minutes.
“There’s so much to be proud of with this performance,” said Goshen interim head coach Jon Tropf. “Our guys never gave up. We need to execute on the defensive end and start halves better. Once we do that we’re going to be a special team.”
Heath-Granger finished the game with two steals, moving past 2006 graduate Jordan Buller for the fourth-most in school history with 170. He also became the first Goshen player to crack a single-season top 10 this year: his 137 assists are 10th-most all-time and 44 shy of Kenny Edwards’ mark from 1980-81.
Geschke, who became the eighth player in program history to attempt at least 1,000 career field goals, ended the day 24 points behind Mark Landes for the 10th-most in a Maple Leaf career.
Goshen visits Marian University in Indianapolis on Saturday; tip-off is set for 3 p.m. after the women’s game at 1.