Chapel Hill escapes Northwood upset bid
Brian Thornton tipped in a Ben Brower miss with 54 seconds left to help Chapel Hill (12-5, 7-1) hold off an upset attempt by Northwood (6-12, 1-7), 69-65, Friday at Chapel Hill.
The visiting Chargers trailed by as much as 13 in the first half, but Northwood battled back to take the lead with a minute to go in the third quarter. Missed scoring opportunities in the fourth quarter were the difference as Chapel Hill overcame a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to win.
With 3:38 left, Northwood’s Ti Pinnix got a steal under the Chapel Hill basket and threw a baseball pass to Jared Worley. Chapel Hill was able to get defenders back fast enough to contest the layup, however, preventing the Chargers from extending their lead to six. Worley led Northwood with 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting.
Andy Gillespie drove for a layup and foul on the other end to cut Northwood’s lead to one. Gillespie had a game-high 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and his two first-half steals and fast break layups helped Chapel Hill build its early lead.
After the Chargers missed a free throw, Jeremy Werdon hit a three pointer with 3:05 left to give Chapel Hill the lead. The Tigers were 6 of 14 from long range in the game, shooting better from 3-point range than two.
Northwood missed one of two free throws on the next possession, and, with the game tied at 57, Josh Hennen passed to Brower for a back-door layup. On the other end, Northwood’s pass to an open player under the basket bounced out of bounds.
Pinnix scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Northwood couldn’t claw back into the lead.
Northwood fell behind early, missing its first seven shots and committing three turnovers in the first four possessions. Eight Tigers scored in the first quarter as Chapel Hill led 21-12 heading into the second period.
Chapel Hill slowed things down in the second, struggling to solve Northwood’s matchup zone. The Tigers held the lead at the line, getting their first six points of the period on free throws.
Meanwhile, Northwood was a perfect seven-for-seven from the field in the second, part of 11 straight made shots by the Chargers. Northwood’s second-quarter outburst was led by seven points from Worley and five from Justus Thompson, who did all of his scoring in the second. The Chargers were only able to cut two points off the Chapel Hill lead, however, thanks to two 3-pointers from David Caraher, who scored 11 for the game.
After the half, Chapel HIll again struggled to run its offense against Northwood. The Chargers scored the first six points of the period, and Chapel Hill was held scoreless for the first 8:18 of the second half. The Tigers didn’t make a shot in the second half until 2:51 remained in the third quarter and were just 1 for 8 in the period.
Northwood headed to the fourth with a 49-46 lead and doubled it when Worley stole the ball and passed ahead to Pinnix for a layup and foul.
The Tigers would outscore the Chargers 23-13 the rest of the way as Northwood made just two of its final eight shots.
Brower finished with 10 points for Chapel Hill, and Elijah Washington had 11 for Northwood.
Chapel Hill won its third straight game with its highest scoring output of the season.
Northwood lost its second straight and ended a stretch of three straight road games. The Chargers host Cardinal Gibbons on Tuesday.