Nov. 11, 2011
Bearcats stun Division I UMKC, 66-62
By David Boyce
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State played most of the second half without point guard DeShaun Cooper, who was nearly unstoppable in the first half.
The Bearcats were on the road, and they were playing a NCAA Division I team. On paper, it was a recipe for a loss.
But on the Swinney Recreation Center court Friday afternoon, it turned into a nice victory as Northwest held off a late run and beat UMKC 66-62. It was the first game of the season for both teams.
“We look at it like they are another team whether it is D-I or D-II,” said Cooper, who finished with 13 points. “It’s another win. We are just going to keep doing what we are doing. We are going to impose our will.”
Cooper proved his value in the first half when he had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. When he left with 15:37 remaining in the second half, the Bearcats showed they could score without him.
“It was pretty tough because I know I let my team down getting some stupid fouls that I reached on, and I never should have. I know next game that I got to be more mentally tougher and not let the referees affect the way I play.”
Northwest had to find offense elsewhere.
When Cooper left, Northwest held a 36-33. UMKC scored the first seven points in the second half. The Kangaroos added three more on a trey by Estan Tyler that tied the game at 36. It was the first tie since 7-7.
UMKC took a 41-40 lead on inside basket by Bernard Kamwa. The Bearcats looked in trouble.
Instead, the Bearcats didn’t allow their first deficit since 3-2 to bother them. Senior Kyle Haake stepped up and knocked down a three-pointer that put Northwest back ahead 43-41.
Haake’s clutch bucket put an end to UMKC’s early second-half barrage. Haake followed his three-pointer with a two-point field goal that gave the Bearcats a 45-41 lead.
“We knew they were going to come out ready to go in the second half because they were upset with the way they played in the first half,” Haake said.
Northwest would never trail again. In fact, the Bearcats slowly extended their lead with Cooper on the bench. It was a total team effort as Northwest pushed their advantage to 57-47.
“We have a lot of guys we trust,” said Haake, who finished with 11 points. “When you are in you got to do your job.
“This does give us confidence. We know we have a special group of players here.”
Junior DeAngelo Hailey had a couple of baskets. Justin Clark had his moments of making a few buckets. Matt Wallace knocked down a shot and then threw down a dunk.
At 5-foot-11, Wallace’s dunk to give Northwest a 57-47 lead really energized the Bearcats.
“I liked it,” Cooper said. “In practice, Matt Wallace makes the right decisions. He doesn’t make stupid plays.”
The Bearcats left Swinney looking like a team that is going to be competitive in the MIAA.
In the first half Northwest was in complete command and took a commanding 36-26 lead into halftime because the Kangaroos had no answer for Cooper.
“It felt like I could get anything I wanted,” Cooper said.
A perfect example came late in the first half. The shot clock was ticking down. With under 7 seconds left, Cooper drove from the top of the key, weaved inside and made a layup that put the Bearcats in front 33-26.
About a minute later, the Bearcats again faced a dwindling shot clock. This time Cooper was 25 feet from the basket. Only two ticks were left on the shot clock. Cooper launched a long three-pointer that went in for the final points of the half.
Those were the highlight plays of Cooper’s impact. The way he ran the team throughout the first 20 minutes was less spectacular but the main reason the Bearcats took a double-digit halftime lead.
Cooper used his quickness to draw defenders and then he passed the ball to wide open teammates.
A perfect example came early in the first half. Northwest trailed 3-2 when Cooper penetrated and then tossed a pass to Haake in the corner. Haake drained a three-pointer that gave the Bearcats a 5-3 lead. They never trailed again in the first half.
“That’s what he does,” Haake said. “He’s a playmaker. That’s what I play off. That’s what a lot of guys play off. He gets us involved really well.”
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