Withrow and Woodward take the floor in Evanston. Photo by Theopolis K. Caldwell Sr.
By Theopolis K. Caldwell Sr.
The Withrow Tigers defeated the Woodward Bulldogs 54-37 in Evanston on February 7. The win put the Tigers (11-8, 8-3 ECC) in prime position to gain traction in the Division I standings with three games remaining, while the Bulldogs (10-8, 5-3 CMAC) dropped the seventh of their last ten contests.
The game started out slow for both teams as there were plenty of missed shots. The first points weren’t scored until a pair of free throws were made by Withrow’s Abba Lawal with 5:31 left. Both teams combined for 14 points at the end of the first quarter. Woodward led with an 8-6 edge.
Toward the middle of the second quarter, the Bulldogs led, but the Tigers battled back with timely defense, especially from Lawal blocking a layup attempt. The Tigers finished the final three minutes of the quarter on a 6-3 run, with Withtrow, 14, Woodward, 16, at the end of the first half.
In the second half, Withrow would have an offensive spurt aided by a suffocating defense to outscore Woodward with an 8-2 run with 4:02 to go. The Tigers lead by key layup’s from Mike Hill Jr. and John Lawrence to make it 24-18. Woodward would not give up, forcing Withrow to turn the ball over on one of Hakeem Thomas’ five steals of the night that ended with a wide open pass to Terry Durham for a thunderous dunk, which led to Withrow’s Head Coach Shaun O’Connell to call a timeout to speak to his team.
“We had some turnovers that kept us in the f old,’’ said O’Connell.
With score 25-22 with 15 seconds left in the third, Cooper, who led the Bulldogs with 15 points on 6-15 shooting attempted a 3-pointer to tie the game at 25, but his shot never hit the rim as it air-balled with time expiring. It would be the last time that Woodward would get a chance to come that close, as the Tigers would outscore Woodward 29-15 to decide the contest. The bulk of Withrow’s scoring would be aided by an efficient night by senior guard Timmy Cottingham’s 14 points on 6-8 shooting.
“Timmy did a fantastic job in the second half as he attacked the basket,” said O’Connell.
Both teams look to improve in the conference standings.