LOWELL | Times No. 3 Munster is still the top dog in the Northwest Crossroads Conference.
That was evident Friday night as Munster (12-3, 4-0) turned back a challenge from No. 4 Lowell for an easy 79-59 victory in The Pit.
“I thought Lowell played pretty well, but we shot the ball extremely well tonight,” Munster coach Mike Hackett said. “We were fortunate, too.
“We didn’t anticipate coming in here and playing a good team at their place and beating them by 20.”
With the win. Munster remains atop the NCC with two league games remaining after a nearly flawless effort. Munster committed just 7 turnovers and counted 18 assists.
Junior guard Drew Hackett led the way with a game-high 28 points, adding four rebounds and two assists.
“We knew Lowell was going to be a good opponent,” he said. “We had to come in here and show them we wanted to be 4-0 in the conference.”
Munster led 19-13 at the first stop and opened the second quarter with a 9-4 run to take a 28-17 lead. Munster owned a 35-24 advantage at the half.
The Mustangs had a lot of success with a 2-1-2 zone press.
“They were real comfortable in their man-to-man, so we wanted to switch it up,” coach Hackett said. “… We stayed with it because they were having trouble with it.”
It was more of the same in the second half as the Mustangs raced out to an 18-point lead and still held a 56-38 advantage with eight minutes left.
Kevin Schlotman added 17 points, including three, 3-pointers, while Adam Ostoich finished with nine points.
“We just look for the open man,” Schlotman said. “Just keep swinging it, try and get it inside a little bit. Whoever is open just take the shot.”
Coach Hackett said they just want to get a good look every possession.
“One more is what we live by, which means make the extra pass and turn a good shot into a great shot” he said. “One of the reasons we shot so well we made the extra pass, and we were wide open.”
Zach Van Hook topped Lowell (9-2, 2-1) with 18 points and six rebounds. It was Lowell’s first game in nearly three weeks.
Munster will try to remain perfect in the NCC when it hosts Griffith, who beat Andrean Friday night, next Friday.
“That will be a nice ballgame also,” coach Hackett said.