Slumping Northwestern stands tall vs. short-staffed Southern

With only seven players, No. 9 Bulldogs put up fight before losing, 67-58

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 03, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Having dropped out of the area rankings by losing two of the past three games, the Northwestern Wildcats needed a confidence-boosting win.

They got that at home yesterday with a 67-58 upset of No. 9 Southern, which had only seven players available. Still, the Wildcats (5-4) had to survive a late run by only four Bulldogs -- three had fouled out -- before they could claim the Baltimore City League victory.

"Southern was a little thin today, but I was pleased with our effort," said Northwestern coach Doug Robertson. "If we had been showing that type of effort all along, this team would be undefeated."

The shorter Southern squad was outmanned from the start, having to deal with 6-foot-5, 260-pound Eric Freeman (14 points, 10 rebounds) and 6-8, 300-pound Derek Daniels (four points, eight rebounds).

"We haven't played the way we're capable of playing. We have the size, but we need someone to step up and be the man," Robertson said. "They were ready today, but we have Northern on Friday, then Forest Park and Walbrook. We'll have to learn to take more advantage of things."

Northwestern jumped out to a 22-8 first-period lead during which Roy Shomo scored 10 points --including three three-pointers. Shomo finished with 13 points.

The Wildcats, who led 33-25 at halftime, also received balanced scoring with eight points each from Delton Burney, Kevin Womack and Frank Crockett.

Before the game, Southern coach Meredith Smith, whose only previous loss was to No. 7 Lake Clifton in overtime, lamented the absence of three starters. They were especially missed when the third man to foul out, Damian Spence (game-high 23 points), exited and the Bulldogs (6-2) played the game's final two minutes with only four players.

"One player has the flu, another has a sprained ankle and the other one had a funeral to go to. Two of them are starters, but that's no excuse," said Smith. "We missed too many layups and free throws, but we had to go with what we had. We wound up doing better with four than we did with five."

Indeed, down 64-46, the Bulldogs outscored Northwestern 12-3 over the game's final two minutes. Within that time, there was a 10-0 run that included three-pointers from Donte Davis and Mike Williams, who scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth period. Southern's Michaux Proctor contributed nine points.

"We're happy with the win, but we should have blown them out," Freeman said. "They had no big men, so we should have dominated more. We made stupid mistakes that almost gave [the game] away. We were sloppy, but we got the win, so I'm satisfied."

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