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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release


Dec. 14, 2012

Bearcats open Christmas break at Hawaii Classic

Game Central

Tipoff: Saturday 5 p.m. (CST) / Sunday 10 p.m. (CST)
McKinley Gym
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: 10
St. Edward's: NR
Harding: NR
vs. St. Edward's: This is the first meeting since the 2008 South Central Regional against St. Edward's. The Bearcats are 1-0 against St. Edward's.
vs. Harding: This will be only the second ever meeting between Northwest and Harding on the basketball floor. Northwest won the only meeting between the two teams in 1980.

Ben McCollum (Northwest '03) 52-38 (4th season)
St. Edward's: Andre Cook (Skidmore '94) 32-47 (4th season)
Harding: Jeff Morgan (West Texas A&M) 327-212 (20th season at Harding) 344-222 overall

Game Quick Links

By David Boyce

The Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball team departed unseasonably warm Maryville 3:30 a.m. Thursday for tropical paradise Hawaii.

It wasn’t going from frigid single digits to 80 degrees in the daylong travel. However, sunny 80 degrees, the smell of warm air and everybody in shorts, tops 40 degrees all the time in December.

A photo that assistant coach Austin Meyer posted on his Facebook page Thursday evening showed the Bearcats had arrived safely at Ohana Waikiki East and were in good spirits. The players were in shorts, smiling and wearing the traditional Hawaiian flower necklace.

It is vacation time after finals and a 6-0 start to the season!

Not quite.

Northwest is in Honolulu to play some basketball. The Bearcats will compete in the Hawaii Classic Saturday and Sunday. Northwest takes on St. Edwards on Saturday and Harding on Sunday.

“I want to see us handle distractions and compete at a high level,” Northwest coach Ben McCollum said. “We play two tough teams who are polar opposite of each other. St. Edwards get up and down and press you and Harding is a little more structured and more half court.

“It will be a great challenge for our guys. If you win the games the trip will be enjoyable.”

Obviously, Christmas break will be more enjoyable if the Bearcats are 8-0 instead of 7-1 or 6-2.

But win or lose, the experience the players will soak up over next four days will be one they will remember for years. It is one of the reasons so many men’s and women’s basketball coaches at all levels try to schedule trips like this once in a player’s four years at a school.

“A lot of them won’t be able to travel to a place like this ever in their lives,” McCollum said. “I think it is a good reward for what they bring to the university.”

Junior Dillon Starzl, who played high school basketball at Kearney High School in Missouri, is one player who is making his first trip to Hawaii and he was excited about it Tuesday afternoon.

“It is going to be a great time,” he said. “I have never been there. It is going to be a great experience for the team and myself.

“But our main focus is to play the two games down there and then we will have our fun after we get the wins.”

McCollum said the tournament is a learning tool for future tournaments.

“As far as playing goes, Hawaii offers considerable distractions, especially being on the beach,” McCollum said. “If we are fortunate to make tournaments down the stretch and we treat this like a conference tournament, a national tournament, I think we will be able to better handle those distractions because we’ve already done it in Hawaii.”

It doesn’t take much of an imagination to figure out the myriad of distractions that a beach in Hawaii presents.

“Yes, it will be little tough, being in Hawaii and all,” Starzl said. “I think he (McCollum) will get our focus right throughout this week. We are going to practice hard that first day in Hawaii and get our focus and win those two games.”

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

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