MUNSTER | You could say Munster has had East Chicago Central's number.
Coming into Friday's nonconference game, Munster had beaten the Cardinals in eight consecutive meetings, knocking them out of the postseason three times in that stretch.
That mastery continued in a game that could've gone either way as Times No. 4 Munster scored 20 of the final 28 points to stun the No. 5 Cardinals, 59-58.
Drew Hackett led Munster (4-0) with 17 points, Pat McCarthy added 12 and Sam Toth 11. But there were other key contributions, like Adam Ostoich's six fourth-quarter points and Nikola Mandic's team-high six rebounds off the bench.
"I didn't expect to play much. I just got released from football two days ago," Ostoich said.
East Chicago (3-2), which had seven losses by 10 points or less last season, was up 50-39 early in the fourth quarter when Munster rallied the troops.
"We didn't bow our heads and we had some kids come off the bench to help," Ostoich said. "Coach (Mike Hackett) has this mottto: Grit and Grind. He kept us positive, told us to just weather the storm."
Hyron Edwards put on a show for the huge crowd, pouring in a game-high 24 points, 14 coming in ECC's 19-9 third quarter surge.
"The game is a game of runs," E.C. Central coach Abe Brown said. "We made ours in the third, they made theirs in the fourth. It came down to one shot at the end.
"We played hard. Our kids showed we got heart, playing hard on the road. There's nothing I'd change."
Damien Jefferson chipped in 14 points and Jeremiah Ochoa had 12 for the Cardinals, who shot 38 percent and missed six free throws.
Munster shot 60 percent on the night and 54 percent (7 of 13) from beyond the arc.
Grit and Grind you bet.
"It's kinda what happened tonight," coach Hackett said. "It wasn't pretty but if you stay determined and don't give up, you'll be in a position to win.
"More than in other years, this has to be a total group effort this season."
Friday marked Munster's 71st win in its last 77 games.