MERRILLVILLE | Lowell coach Nate Richie liked much of what he saw Friday night.
"That's the shot we want!" he yelled several times.
The Times No. 6 Red Devils used rejuvenated defensive intensity and a huge run in the fourth quarter to battle through Andrean in their 57-40 Northwest Crossroads Conference win.
"We knew Andrean has some players and we did a good job of identifying them and guys continued to grind on the defensive end," Richie said.
The first quarter didn't see a basket until Andrean junior guard Ben Davidson sank a mid-range jumper at the 5:36 mark.
Lowell (10-3, 3-2 NCC) forced bad looks from its counterpart, with the host 59ers trying to break the Red Devils' zone look, but it didn't go exactly how Andrean planned because it shot just 3-of-16, including 1-for-10 from three-point range in the first half.
The majority of the Niners' 19 first-half points came on sophomore guard Colin Flowers' free throws, as he went a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
Lowell senior forward Ben Barker scored seven of the team's 13 points in the second quarter, including back-to-back threes with almost three minutes left, which extended Lowell's biggest lead of the half at five points.
"I was not hitting anything on Tuesday (against Griffith), but my shot felt good tonight and I felt like I was in a rhythm," said Barker, who scored 16 points.
Every time Andrean would make a small run, Barker would make a crucial shot from downtown.
"I believe he's one of the best shooters in the state," Richie boldly stated. "We're always telling him to look for his shot."
After Lowell opened the quarter on an 8-2 run, Andrean (7-6, 2-2) responded with seven points from junior guard Nick Podkul in the quarter, but the Niners were still trailing 37-30 after three.
Lowell went on a 10-1 run through the first five-and-a-half minutes of the final period, which proved to be the knockout blow for the Red Devils.
Now with the 20-day game layoff and the grinder of a schedule against Munster, Griffith, and Andrean behind them, Barker believes the team is poised to do some damage in the postseason.
"I mean, we practiced throughout the layoff, but now that we're done with these three games, we feel like we're starting to click," he said.