Three times in a span of less than three minutes in the first quarter, Jarred Binder went up for a lay up, made it and drew the foul. The Northwestern center didn't convert on any of the three-point play attempts, but he made his presence felt early in the game.
The 6-foot-6 senior went on to a career-high 23-point night as his team beat visiting Palmerton 68-35.
"It was a good game," said Binder. "My teammates were looking inside and we took advantage of my size in the post. I felt like I couldn't be stopped. But I've got to work on my free throws."
Binder's big night and a strong defensive effort helped the Tigers (3-3 overall, 2-1 Colonial League) surpass last year's win total with 16 games left on the schedule.
Northwestern held Palmerton (0-4, 0-3) without a field goal for the final 2:23 of the first quarter through the first 3:08 of the second. It resulted in a 14-2 run by the Tigers that gave them a 25-11 lead.
When the Bombers' Nick Frey hit a three-pointer to stop the run, the Tigers turned up the defense again, forcing five turnovers in three minutes to spark a 7-0 run.
When Binder went to the line for his fourth attempt at a three-point play, he made and gave his team a 34-14 lead with 1:53 left in teh first half. He finished the half with 18 points and shot 9-for-11 in the game.
The Bombers, which were already in foul trouble in the first quarter, didn't have an answer for Binder.
"Our bench isn't very deep," said Palmerton assistant coach Frank McCarroll. "He's a heck of a ball player. We tried to front him. It just didn't happen. We're very young. We're going through going pains right now. We'll be back in the gym tomorrow and see what we can do for Friday's game."
Northwestern forced 12 turnovers in the first half and held Palmerton to just one field goal in each of the middle two quarters.
"Defense was the key," said Tiger head coach Dan Eddinger. "I was talking to them about that all year, getting in the passing lanes and making other teams feel uncomfortable. Teams don't have a problem doing that to us."
Cam Richardson chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals for Northwestern.
The Tigers, which went 2-20 last year, have now won three of their last four games. Tuesday's win was Northwestern's largest margin of victory since beating Kutztown 56-23 in last year's season opener and it biggest league win since its 72-38 beating of Palmerton on Jan. 29, 2008.
"It was great to get a win like that for the program, but we have a quick turnaround," said Eddinger. "I talked them about enjoying tonight and coming in tomorrow to work. Then let's go to Bangor Thursday and find out what we're made of."
McCarroll manned the Palmerton bench in place of Bomber head coach Mick Stefanek, but he did not know why Stefanek was not at the game.
"I was taken by surprise," McCarroll said. "I was told to coach. I have no idea. I don't know if it's just for tonight. I don't know."
Hay 1-2-2-4, Shigo 0-0-0-0, Lesher 1-5-6-6, Pereira 0-3-4-3, Leaver 1-1-2-4, Quinn 2-0-5-4, Shivone 0-0-0-0, Koma 0-0-0-0, Buck 3-0-0-6, Frey 1-0-0-3, Luers 0-0-0-0, Achterman 1-0-0-3. TOTALS 10-11-19-35.
Wagner 2-0-0-4, Williamson 0-1-2-1, Schuler 1-0-0-2, T. Richardson 3-2-2-9, Betz 0-0-0-0, C. Breidinger 1-2-2-5, Perry 1-1-2-3, C. Richardson 5-0-0-10, Binder 9-5-9-23, Mengel 0-0-0-0, Jones 1-0-0-2, Deutsch 0-0-0-0, McCann 1-1-2-3, Schwartz 2-1-3-6. TOTALS: 26-13-22-68.
Palmerton 9 8 7 11 – 35
Northwestern 15 22 15 16 – 68
Three-pointers: Palmerton – Lesher 1, Leaver 1, Frey 1, Achterman 1; Northwestern - T. Richardson 1, C. Breidinger 1, Schwartz 1.