The two halves of Friday's West York vs. Northeastern divisional tilt looked like two completely different games.
The first half was a frantic, up-and-down track meet with neither team creating much separation. The second half was simply the "Kobi Nwandu Show."
Nwandu scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, highlighted by an emphatic slam dunk in the third quarter, as Northeastern turned a one-point halftime lead into a 66-46 win at West York.
What was the difference?
Northeastern (10-1, 7-0 YAIAA Division II) started playing offense, head coach Jon Eyster said.
"We definitely played with a little more composure," Eyster said of the second-half performance. "In the first half we didn't really do anything. We just ran around. We took open shots but most of them were off the dribble, and we wanted to take them off the pass."
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (6-5, 4-3 Division II), who scored the majority of their first-half points in the paint, went cold and shot 5-for-21 in the second half.
"We couldn't put the ball in the hoop," West York head coach Bill Ackerman said. "We couldn't make layups or open shots or anything. They're (Northeastern) a heck of a team, but we made them look a lot better."
The Bulldogs, who desperately needed a win after starting the season 6-4 and falling two games back of the Bobcats in the division, seemed to hold the upper hand early. But Northeastern's Brandon Coleman scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, sending the Bobcats into the locker room with a 30-29 lead at the half.
Then Nwandu's dunk placed the momentum squarely on Northeastern's side early in the third. The middle of the lane opened up for the senior forward who dribbled right down the middle of the floor in transition, drew a foul and threw down a one-handed jam that sent the Northeastern fans into a frenzy. Then the floodgates opened. All five Northeastern starters scored while outscoring West York, 18-6, in the quarter.
"They have a lot of guys who can score inside and out, and they get out in transition," Ackerman said of Northeastern. "That was one of our keys. We thought we could slow them down but the wheels came off in the second half. It's unfortunate because I thought we had turned a corner. They punched us in the mouth, and we let it happen."
Darian McCauley was the only Bulldog to reach double figures in scoring. The senior scored 11 of West York's 17 second-half points and finished with 19.
"We need other guys to start stepping up," Ackerman said. "We're putting in effort, we're just not putting the ball in the hoop."
Kobi Nwandu 9 4-6 22, Brandon Coleman 6 1-1 15, Rizzuto 4 0-0 8, Maxfield 3 1-2 8, Reynolds 4 0-0 8, Zirkle 1 1-3 4, Mulbah 0 1-2 1, McCarter 0 0-0 0. Totals — 28 8-13 66.
West York (46)
Darian McCauley 8 2-4 19, Bailey 2 2-2 7, Lalic 2 2-4 6, Dellorfano 1 3-4 5, Frey 2 0-1 4, Meckley 1 2-2 4, Sarver 0 1-2 1, Hawkins 0 0-0 0, Fields 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 12-19 46.
Northeastern _ 16_ 14 _ 18 _ 18 _ — _ 66
West York_ 16 _ 13 _ 6 _ 11 _ — _ 46
3-point goals — NE 4 (Coleman 2, Maxfield, Zirkle), WY 2 (McCauley, Bailey).