SC was able to neutralize Huntington big man Arick Nicks, who came into the game fourth in the MSAC in scoring at 20.5 points per game. Nicks finished with nine points (hitting 3 of 9 shots) and eight rebounds, though he did have the game's only slam dunk on a breakaway.
"They kind of took us out of running our set offense with their pressure,'' Hess said, "and that hasn't happened to us all year. We didn't get the ball inside to Nicks hardly at all tonight.''
Shaquan Miller led the Highlanders with 10 points, draining all three of his 3-point tries. But Huntington got off only 35 shots in the game, owing to the many aborted possessions caused by SC's trapping defense.
"We had a lot of good things happen tonight,'' Harris said, "mostly the pressure. We put a lot of pressure on them. We knew they had some young guards, and we were able to scare them a little bit when we put pressure on them.''
Five different SC players swiped the ball at least twice, led by Rashaud Kincaid and Hunter Moles with four apiece. Trevond Reese gave the team a lift off the bench with six points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
A.D. Cunningham led SC to a 28-22 edge off the boards by grabbing six rebounds. Kincaid dished out a team-high five assists.
"We're a defensive team,'' Herbert said, "and if we guard like we do 90 percent of the time and make shots like we did tonight, we're going to be hard to beat.''
SC shot nearly 50 percent, making 24 of 49 attempts from the floor, including 6 of 13 from long range.
"This was huge,'' Herbert said. "We beat a team tonight we felt like we had to beat to have a chance to make it to the [MSAC] championship. Huntington's athletic like us and it was on their home court. We felt like it was the biggest game of the year for us because it was on our side, the West Division.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.