Norwich 78, Oneonta 37
NORWICH – Norwich finished its first run through division play with a rare blowout win over longtime rival Oneonta on Saturday.
Playing on back-to-back nights, the Tornado were even more impressive than Friday’s 23-point win over Owego. The ‘Jackets were limited to 26 percent shooting (13-for-50) on the night, and had just 18 points after three quarters as the Tornado built their advantage to 62-18.
“The guys are probably sick of us preaching about playing good defense,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “They heard the message. We played very good defense tonight and last night.”
Norwich scored the first nine points of Friday’s matchup. After a pair of Mike Calkins buckets for Oneonta, the Tornado rattled off 10 more points for the early 15-point lead. Richie Bonney had eight in the opening quarter, Josh Borftz netted five, and Derek Hughes had both of his buckets during the opening eight minutes.
Abbott was substituting freely in the opening half, and had every player on the floor seeing good minutes. In all, 12 of 13 Norwich players scored, and 12 of 13 players had assists.
Bonney had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Tornado, and Seth Thomsen came off the bench to score 14. Norwich had assists on 28 of 33 baskets, and shot a season-best 57 percent from the field (33-of-58). That included eight three-pointers made on just 12 attempts.
Norwich was also especially careful in protecting the ball with just five turnovers, one off the school-record. The win evened Abbott’s career mark against Oneonta at 16-16.
Norwich 71, Owego 48
Friday, Josh Borfitz and Derek Hughes each scored career-high point totals, and Norwich’s dominant third quarter created a wide bulge over the visiting Indians.
Borfitz knocked down three treys scoring 24 points before departing the contest for good early in the fourth quarter. Hughes penetrated almost at will finishing with 13 points. In a testament to Norwich’s overall scoring balance, seasonal scoring leader, Richie Bonney, had just four points.
“We talk about having five scoring threats on the floor,” Abbott said. “When your top gun scores just four and you’re over 70 points, you know you’re doing things right.”
Casey Edwards and Borfitz hit three balls after the drive-and-dish efforts of Hughes to establish a big third-quarter lead. Borfitz had 10 of his points in the quarter, one in which the Tornado had the last nine points of the stanza to create a 57-32 lead.
In the opening half, Owego consistently broke Norwich’s full-court press, and were within 10 points at halftime. “We’re not as consistent as we need to be on defense, and we challenged them at halftime to stop giving up things we were giving up,” Abbott said. “I think they responded to the challenge really well.”