For two quarters, it looked like Homestead was en route to its 21st straight home victory and handing Northrop its fourth straight loss. Homestead hit seven three-pointers in the first half and took a 34-29 lead at the break.
Then, Northrop and Bryson and Brenton Scott did what everyone has become accustomed to seeing happen. They picked up the pressure, pushed the pace and started closing out on shooters. It led to a third quarter where the Bruins outscored Homestead 27-12 to turn a halftime deficit into a 56-46 fourth quarter lead.
Northrop (16-6) then hung on to take win 75-66 over Homestead (16-5) and end both team's streaks.
“We challenged them at halftime, we have to share the ball, we have to penetrate and kick, and it really showed,” said Northrop head coach Barak Coolman. “We got guys open shots, spread things out, made them have to chase us a little bit and that was great.”
The penetration came in large part from the Bruins picking up the pace. With Brenton and Bryson Scott cutting through the lane, the Bruins were able to find layups in transition or an open man from three-pointer on the secondary break. The Bruins went five for five from three in the second half with Brenton Scott hitting three in the third quarter, including one at the buzzer.
Brenton Scott finished the game with 20 points, Bryson Scott had 21 points and Homestead's Nick Gamble had 21 points.
“Well, we got in too fast of a pace, way too fast of a pace in the third quarter,” Homestead head coach Chris Johnson said. “We didn't follow through with what we wanted to do, and that's plain and simple. We allowed them to get into transition and when you do that, you're in trouble because those are two (Brenton and Bryson Scott) of the best guards around.”
The changes at halftime didn't just come offensively. The first half Homestead was finding open looks on the outside thanks to Nick Gamble driving through the lane and kicking outside. It led to 50 percent shooting from three-point land in the first half, and 21 of the Spartans 34 points.
Northrop focused on closing down the lane and staying close to shooters in the second half, and it forced the Spartans field goal percentage to drop 10 points.
“They don't get open shots, and they have to start putting it inside and three is worth more than two, and it made a difference,” Coolman said about the changes defensively.
Forcing Homestead to go inside seemed like it would be an issue to start the second half, though. The Spartans Caleb Swanigan, who finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double, repeatedly was given the ball and created fouls and an early basket. This went along with an offensive rebound and putback from Homestead's Joe Ault and the Spartans had added to their halftime lead.
But, the Bruins quickly adjusted and went on a 14-2 run, giving them the lead for good.
“That big guy (Swanigan), he's massive down there,” Bryson Scott said. “It takes about three to four guys to block his shot. Him and Gamble, they are a good combo. It's hard, but we pulled it out. We did our best.”
NORTHROP 75, HOMESTEAD 66
Northrop 11 18 27 19 — 75
Homestead 19 15 12 20 — 66
Northrop: Brenton Scott 20, Womack 4, Richmond 13, Bryson Scott 21, Cowherd 2, Claypool 11, Thomas 4
Homestead: Osborn 9, Ault 7, Gamble 21, Coate 3, Swanigan 13, Togashi 11, Geller 2