Northeastern senior Khalid Nwandu can't wait to start his collegiate career at Mount St. Mary's University. The New Oxford boys' basketball team probably wishes he were gone a year early.

Nwandu scored a game-high 23 points in the Bobcats' 65-49 win against the Colonials at New Oxford. He has signed to play for the Mountaineers.

"I am really excited to get to college right now," he said. "I had a really good connection with all the coaches, especially Coach (Jamion) Christian. They haven't had a good past, but he's really starting to pick things up. That's something I really want to be a part of."

The Colonials (3-9, 2-4 YAIAA II) began Friday against Nwandu well, shutting him out in a first quarter that ended in an 11-11 tie.

The Bobcats' key was shifting to a 2-3 zone defense -- which has all five players packed closely inside, two in the front row and three in the back -- rather than playing their normal man-to-man. The adjustment made penetrating the defense for easy layups challenging.

"They were really closing up a lot," Nwandu said. "They were looking to take me out of my game. I didn't hit a lot of my shots."

Colonials coach Jim Zinn decided to switch after he spoke with coaches who had beaten the Bobcats (7-5, 5-2).

But the plan began to unravel when Nwandu scored 11 second-half points. He credited the binge to feeling better and finding holes in New Oxford's defense.

Still, the Colonials -- led by their fast-paced offense -- took a 31-28 lead into halftime.

Their plan finally fell apart as the Bobcats scored 18 third-quarter points to take a 46-41 lead into the fourth quarter. The deficit forced the Colonials to abandon the zone, which allowed the Bobcats to cut through for easier shot attempts and extend their lead to the 16-point margin.

"They extended the lead and they could've stood out there," Zinn said. "We had to come out of it. It worked the first three quarters, really."

Dan Ernst led his team with a team-high 13 points, the lone Colonial in double digits. His production, however, wasn't a match for Nwandu, who wasn't happy with his performance.

"I didn't know I had (23 points)," he said. "I didn't feel like this was my best game."

But it was another normal night for the Mountaineers recruit.

"He does everything for us -- rebounds, steals, deflects, assists," Bobcats coach Jon Eyster said. "He's the constant stat line for us. It's nice when you can have something, as a coach, when you know you're going to have that. He's a heck of a player."

dpaulling@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, extension 139; Twitter: @DanielPaulling

  
NORTHEASTERN (65)
   Khalid Nwandu 8 5-6 23; Braheem 0 1-2 1; Marcus 0 0-0 0; Coleman 2 0-0 6; Wade 2 0-0 4; Reeser 0 0-0 0; Ko. Nwandu 1 3-5 5; Marshall 2 0-1 5; Bajrami 0 0-0 0; Maxfield 2 2-2 7; Eyster 0 3-4 3; Derrick Hoffman 5 1-1 11. Totals 22 15-20 65.
NEW OXFORD (49)
   Slusser 0 0-0 0; Kibler 2 0-0 5; Groft 0 0-0 0; Trimmer 1 0-0 2; Starner 1 1-2 3; Beans 2 1-2 5; Wildasin 3 0-0 7; O'Brien 4 0-0 8; Decinti 2 0-0 6; Dan Ernst 4 3-3 13. Totals 19 5-7 49.
Northeastern   11  17  18  19 -- 65
New Oxford   11  20  10    8 -- 49
   3-point goals -- Northeastern 6 (K. Nwandu 2, Coleman 2, Marshall, Maxfield); New Oxford 6 (Decinti 2, Ernst 2, Wildasin, Kibler).
   JV score -- Northeastern 53, New Oxford 20.