LOWELL | It's hard to keep a good man down. It's even harder to keep a great player down.
On Saturday night inside The Pit, Lowell proved it is hard to keep a good team getting better down, beating West Side 67-61 in what is believed to be the program's first win over the Cougars.
“I could go 0-for-20 and if we win I'd be happy,” Lowell senior Zach VanHook said after scoring 30 points. He only scored eight against Valparaiso earlier in the week.
Times No. 9 Lowell (3-1) was 22-of-31 from the field (71 percent) and 21-of-27 from the line (78 percent).
“We'll take it,” Lowell coach Nate Richie said. “We hadn't shot well our first three games. I'm not sure if we've ever beaten them before. No one now remembers the last time.'
West Side had won 11 straight on the court, with the Devils getting a forfeit win once.
“We don't have Arnold Wilson,” West Side coach Murray Richards said when asked what happened. Wilson hurt his knee against West Side and will not return to the lineup until Dec. 23.
“You hate to put it all one one man, but he does so much for us," Richards added. “We haven't shot well all season. And Christian Jacobs has to stop getting in foul trouble; he's our best big man.”
West Side (2-5) had 19 turnovers against an active, athletic Lowell defense.
The Red Devils led 39-33 at the half, thanks to Brandon Cory's half-court shot at the buzzer. Lowell had a 22-point second quarter, with VanHook scoring eight points with three assists.
The Cougars hit five 3-pointers in the first half, two by Tremaine Grubbs, two by JaRe' Glover and one by TuQuary Scott. Glover had 13 first-half points.
At the start of the third quarter, Lowell took four minutes off the clock passing and working the ball around the Cougars' zone.
Glover led the Cougars with 17 points, while Grubbs had 11.
Aaron Hamm had 10 for the Devils and had another active game all over the court.
“This is what we're aiming for,” Richie said. “(Beating Valpo) and West Side, those are two of the most respective programs in the state. We have to keep working to get better.”