North Central Men Outgun Greenville for First Win

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

Facing relentless full-court pressure from the opening tip, the North Central College men's basketball team beat a high-scoring Greenville University team at its own game Friday night at Gregory Arena. The Cardinals picked the Pioneers apart and pulled away for a 122-103 victory, their first of the young season.

North Central (1-1) posted the second-highest point total in its history, second only to a 129-point effort against Marietta College on Nov. 19, 2004. The Cardinals' field-goal percentage (69.1%, 47 of 68) was also their second-highest ever, and the hosts set a new single-game program record with 40 assists. 

Also making a bit of history was North Central senior forward Connor Raridon, whose 18-point, 15-rebound, 12-assist performance is the first triple-double by a member of the Cardinals' men's program. Matt Cappelletti, meanwhile, made 22 of 26 field goals for a career-high 47 points, the fifth-highest single-game point total by a Cardinal.

The Panthers (1-2) caught North Central off guard with their defensive pressure early on, taking an 11-4 lead after three minutes of play. The Cardinals countered with 10 straight points and took a 14-11 lead after seven straight points by Michael Pollack. The lead changed hands eight times before Raridon, Cappelletti and Aaron Jones scored successive layups to put North Central up, 45-38, near the end of the first period. The hosts headed into halftime with a 47-42 advantage.

Greenville tied the score at 49-49 on Barry Nixon's three-pointer with 18:21 to play, but the Cardinals countered with a run of nine straight points to move back in front and took their first double-digit lead at 61-51 on Pollack's triple with 15:51 left. The Panthers closed the gap to 66-59, but a tip-in by Blaise Meredith sparked a 13-2 surge which left the score at 79-61 with 11:59 to go. The Cardinals were not threatened from then on and led by as many as 25 down the stretch.

Pollack finished with 17 points, while Aiden Chang added 12 with six assists. Henry Johnson led six double-figure scorers for Greenville with 17 points.

The Cardinals are idle until Monday, Nov. 25, when they host Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Indiana). Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.