MERRILLVILLE | Never say die was the theme on Saturday night inside a packed gymnasium at 5959 Broadway, as two of the region's top powers faced off for the first time ever.
Times No. 2 Andrean erased an 18-point second-half deficit and went on to defeat No. 5 Bowman 73-68 on Saturday night.
"It was a really hard-fought game," Andrean coach Carson Cunningham said. "I was impressed with our guys, they stuck with it. Many of them have been playing varsity for several years. We were down and they looked at me and said, 'Coach, we've got this.'"
When asked if he gave his team any kind of Knute Rockne speech during a timeout in the final 16 minutes, the Andrean coach went into Carson Cunningham mode.
"Hey, we're not plitting the atom here," Cunningham said. "We're not bouncing proteins off each other. We picked up our defense and I told the guys if they had a clean look, 'Knock the apple down.'"
Nick Davidson led the stunning for the 59ers (3-0). The Valparaiso University-bound point guard was ice from the free-throw line, hitting 20 of 21 for the game, including 14 of 14 in the second half.
He finished with 28 points, including 23 in the second half.
Bowman (0-3) missed 14 free throws in the fourth quarter and was 14-of-33 from the line for the game. Andrean was 15-of-17 from the line in the fourth quarter and outscored the Eagles 32-12.
"That was the game," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said. "We're a young team and we have to learn how to win games. Free throws was the game. They knocked down theres, we didn't."
Andrean's Collin Wojcik's 3-pointer with three minutes left tied the game at 63 and Andrean never relinquished the lead after that. It was Wojcik's first game of the year after sitting out with an injured ankle.
Skyler Moss contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds for the 59ers after settling down from early foul trouble.
Bowman's Antonio Pipkin led his team with 18, Justin King added 17, Davon Dillard scored 12 and D'Mario Smith had 10.
"Bowman has a great team," Cunningham said. "This was just a great comeback by my guys. I'm very proud of them."