NORWICH – Norwich played near its best in the fourth quarter, and it needed to in order to make up for perhaps its worst three quarters of offensive basketball in years.
Norwich had nearly as many turnovers (25) as total points (27) entering the fourth quarter, yet still managed a way to overcome a long checklist of miscues.
Jon Foulds hit one-of-two free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, then Foulds hit a baseline 20-footer with multiple Owego defenders in his face to win the contest. Foulds’ shot from the deep left corner spun around the front of the rim, hit the backboard, then spun back through the net at the buzzer. Norwich’s student body stormed the court to celebrate a 53-50 win that kept the Tornado in first place in the STAC Central Division.
When the dust settled, Norwich committed more turnovers in this game than any of the previous 13 contests (28), and the shooting percentage (29 percent) was colder than an eskimo’s air-conditioned igloo. Yet, it still figured out to win for the 13th time in 14 contests. “How do you win a game with that many turnovers and shooting 18-for-62?” asked Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “I guess you just continue to rebound and play defense like crazy.”
Owego started the game scoring the game’s first five points, and never trailed in the game until overtime. Norwich, in spite of 14 turnovers in the first half, trailed by only four. An early Dennis Oralls free throw in the third had the Tornado within three, 23-20. From there, the NHS turnovers came at a startlingly increased rate. Down 29-25, Owego scoring nine straight points to open a 13-point lead. Stephen Yanchus finished a layup after a Norwich turnover, and Yanchus along with teammate Mark Merritt traded buckets and free throws to move the advantage into double digits.