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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

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Nov. 15, 2012

Bearcats still searching for identity

Game Central

Tipoff: Friday 5:30 p.m. | Saturday 5:30 p.m.
Stadium:
Bearcat Arena
Radio:
Bearcat Radio Network
John Coffey (play-by-play), Matt Gaarder (color);
Heard on on seven stations that covers four states in the Midwest, and on the Internet from the flagship station KXCV.

Rankings (NABC Top 25)

Northwest: RV
William Jewell: NR
Rockhurst: NR
Series: Northwest leads the all-time series with William Jewell 23-15 and has won the last three meetings. Northwest also leads the all-time series with Rockhurst 40-19 and has won five of the last six.

Coaches:

Northwest: Ben McCollum (Northwest '03) 44-38 (4th season)
William Jewell: Larry Holley (William Jewell '67)
Rockhurst: Bill O'Connor (Benedictine '72)

Game Quick Links


By David Boyce

One game into the 2012-13 into the season, Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball coach Ben McCollum is in the early stages of figuring out his team.

It has been a bit difficult. Senior point guard DeShaun Cooper has been slowed by injury.

Even if Cooper were 100 percent healthy, the Bearcats would still be searching for an identity. Some key components from last year’s MIAA championship squad have graduated and moved on.

In the first game, an 86-65 victory against Graceland, the Bearcats surprised McCollum some in their offensive efficiency.

“We moved the basketball,” McCollum said. “We did not force the action. We went inside out. We went to the hot hand when Alex Sullivan started hitting shots. We played well for the most part offensively.”

Northwest, though, is supposed to beat a team like Graceland, which competes in the NAIA.

The Bearcats will find a truer indication of where they stand Friday and Saturday when they take on Rockhurst and William Jewell at the Hillyard Classic at Missouri Western.

Northwest faces Rockhurst 5:30 p.m. Friday and William Jewell at the same time on Saturday.

“Those two teams play so hard,” McCollum said. “Both coaches I think have well over a 1,000 wins between the two of them.

“It is great for our team to play against well-coached teams this early in the season, especially Division II opponents. It will be a step up in talent. We are going to have our hands full. If you win them, you gain a lot of confidence. If you lose to them, you learn from them. I think it is a win-win either way.”

In order to be successful against Rockhurst and William Jewell, the Bearcats will need to play hard and together for 40 minutes.

McCollum saw a couple of things against Graceland that the Bearcats will have to eliminate if they want to have a season as successful as last year.

“I just want them to compete with a sense of urgency,” McCollum said. “I thought in spurts we did against Graceland. I didn’t think we did overall. We really need to correct that. That is our strength. We are not going to go around and out talent everybody. Our objective is to play harder, together and smarter.”

Next weekend the Bearcats return home for two games in the Bearcat Classic. It starts a stretch of five straight home games. The final two are the start of conference play with games against Lindenwood on Dec. 5 and Nebraska-Kearney Dec. 8.

“These D II games out of conference we need to perform well in,” McCollum said.


For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
sid@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468