A year ago, Northern Lehigh was the top defensive team in the TIMES NEWS area.

So when Bangor put up 69 points on the Bulldogs in their season opener earlier this week, it naturally raised some questions.

Consider them answered!

Friday night, Northern Lehigh turned in a smothering defensive performance and breezed to a 53-27 Colonial League victory over Northwestern.

The Bulldogs displayed the same multiple look, harassing defense that became their hallmark a year ago when they allowed just a shade over 42 points a game.

"I thought we did a really nice job defensively," said Northern Lehigh coach Jeff Miller. "I was happy with how we communicated on the court and how well we switched between the different defenses we used.

"We have very smart players and that's what enables us to switch as fluidly as we did tonight."

The Bulldogs also have great size and nice team quickness. That's what makes them such a nightmare in the multiple matchup zones and halfcourt traps they employ.

"Northern Lehigh's length gave us some trouble tonight," said Northwestern coach Dan Eddinger. "Give them credit, they move well and do a nice job of getting in the passing lanes."

Northern Lehigh (1-1, 1-1) wasted little time taking control, jumping out to a 15-5 first quarter lead by forcing seven Tiger turnovers and limiting them to a 2-for-11 shooting performance from the field.

Josh Eden had six of his game-high 14 points to lead the Bulldogs in the quarter while Caleb Johnson added four points.

But the Northern Lehigh defense was just getting warmed up. Over the next 13 minutes, the Bulldogs allowed just one field goal while forcing 11 more turnovers. By the time Tyler Richardson knocked down a three-pointer late in the third quarter, the lead had grown to 42-11.

"I honestly wasn't concerned with our defense after the loss to Bangor," said Miller. "It was just one of those nights. They are a good team and they were hitting everything they threw up.

"We came back and had a really good practice the day after the game. I was confident we were going to come out and play well tonight and we did."

In addition to Eden's 14 points, Tyler Dibilio came off the bench to score 11 points for the Bulldogs. Point guard Matt Egan also had a solid game running the offense and pressuring the ball on the perimeter of the defense.

"Tyler (Dibilio) and Matt (Egan) give us nice speed on the top of the defense and then we have our big guys making it tough for teams underneath. That's a nice combination.

"I thought Matt had a strong game for us tonight. He did a lot of nice things both offensively and defensively."

For Northwestern (1-1, 1-3), Jared Binder was the top performer with six points and five rebounds.

"I'm disappointed in our performance," said Eddinger. "We didn't come ready to play. We talked about ways we thought we could exploit their defense, but we didn't do any of those things. We just didn't execute.

"I think we played like we were a little gun shy. We need to do a better of of executing our offense."

NORTHWESTERN

Wagner 1-0-2-2, Williamson 0-5-6-5, T. Richardson 1-0-0-3, Perry 0-1-2-1, Binder 2-2-5-6, C. Richardson 0-0-1-0, Breidinger 0-0-0-0, Betz 1-0-0-2, Breininger 0-0-0-0, Schwartz 1-0-0-2, Mengel 0-1-2-1, Jones 1-2-2-5, McCann 0-0-0-0, Deutsch 0-0-0-0. Totals 7-11-20-27.

NORTHERN LEHIGH

Egan 3-0-0-6, Eden 6-2-2-14, Landsberger 0-7-10-7, Johnson 2-2-5-6, Pierce 3-1-2-7, Dibilio 2-6-6-11, Hofmann 1-0-0-2, Scheetz 0-0-0-0, Hoffer 0-0-0-0, Taylor 0-0-0-0. Totals 17-18-25-53.

Northwestern 5 4 9 9 - 27

No. Lehigh 15 12 19 7 - 53

Three-pointers: NW T. Richardson 1, Jones 1; NL - Dibilio 1.