Northwood shook off a cold-shooting, turnover-filled game to upend Southern 51-45 in overtime in a Big Eight Conference matchup Tuesday night.
The victory puts the Chargers (17-2, 6-1) in a tie for first place with the Spartans (13-4, 6-1).
Northwood led by six with two minutes, 20 seconds left in the game before Southern rallied to send the game into overtime. Despite both teams’ continued ice-cold shooting and miscues, the Chargers made the plays when it counted.
They said it
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“Yes I do, without a doubt,” said Southern coach Teddy McKoy when asked if he thought Southern and Northwood were the two best teams in the Big Eight.
Leading by six late in the game, Northwood coach Cameron Vernon decided to go into a stall offense. It backfired. Southern standout guard J’Naya Ephraim stole the ball three straight times for layups to tie the game with 50 seconds remaining. Ephraim thought she had a fourth steal and was on her way to the basket, but the officials ruled Vernon had called a timeout just before and nullified the play.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” Vernon said. “But they (Southern) are just so athletic, so long and quick.”
Three to know
Ephraim: Scored 18 points, including seven of Southern’s 12 points in the third quarter, plus three steals and six rebounds.
Jazanae Billings, Northwood: Scored 15 points, had 10 rebounds and six steals. Scored six of Northwood’s final eight points in the fourth quarter.
“To be honest, the first game we played against them, we were really intimidated,” Billings said. “We just had a lack of confidence, but this game showed we have bought into the program. Everyone took part (in win) tonight.”
Kristian Eanes, Northwood: Also scored 15 points, including the winning layup with one minute, five seconds left in overtime to put the Chargers ahead 47-45. That was all they needed.
By the numbers
5 Blocks by Southern, including three by Kristina Peace.
3 Consecutive 3-pointers by Northwood to turn a nine-point deficit into a tie late in the second quarter.
12 Straight wins by Northwood.
2 Points scored by Southern in OT.