Dec. 7, 2013
Up-tempo Bearcats pick up win over EmporiaBy David Boyce | Box Score
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Wow! Something special is brewing inside Bearcat Arena. The Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball team played an entertaining brand of team basketball Saturday night against Emporia State.
In beating Emporia State 89-68, the Bearcats played with intensity throughout. They dove for loose balls and were tenacious on defense.
On offense, Northwest shared the basketball, always looking inside to Dillon Starzl or Grant Cozad for the high percentage shot instead of settling for outside jumpers.
“When you have a presence in the post like that and you have guards on the outside, it is pretty hard to stop us,” said senior guard DeShaun Cooper, who finished with 10 points and six assists. “When you have all of us going, we can get it rolling pretty quick.”
It’s why Northwest held a double-digit lead most of the game.
“It is very fun when you are sharing the basketball like that, especially when you have a bunch of guys around you who love you and want to play the game.” Cooper said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Because Starzl and Cozad did such a great job scoring off passes from Cooper, Matt Wallace and others, the outside opened up for three-pointers. The Bearcats made five of eight from behind the arc in the first half.
Northwest only took five, three-point shots in the second half. The Bearcats didn’t need to launch long-range bombs.They started the second half similar to the way they started the game.
The Bearcats scored the first two buckets to start the second half and built a 43-27 lead.
It was team basketball at its finest. Five Bearcats scored in double figures, led by 19 points from Conner Crooker and 17 each from Bryston Williams and Cozad.
“Coop was getting me a lot of open shots,” Crooker said. “I tried to attack when I saw the lane open and it was working for me.”
The showstopper came with 3 minutes left when senior Tyler funk drove to the basket and then did a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass to Cozad, who laid it in for an easy layup. It gave Northwest an 83-61 lead.
“We are attacking more,” Cooper said. “Before, when we got up, we were trying to protect the lead instead of going at their throat. Now, we are going at their throat instead of protecting the lead. We are going after them.”
The Bearcats went into halftime with a 39-27 lead and had several scintillating moments that brought rousing applause from their fans.
Like they have in most of their games this season, the Bearcats started fast, scoring the first six points of the game. They never trailed in the first half.
Northwest’s lead grew to 20-11 on a three-pointer by Crooker. A minute later, the Bearcats pulled off a thrilling play. On a fast break, Cooper threw a nice bounce pass to Crooker on the run and it lead to a layup and pushed Northwest’s lead to 24-14 with 7:52 left in the first half.
The interior passing by the Bearcats was impressive. Another example of it occurred when Funk used a bounce pass that Cozad gathered and scored on a layup. It gave Northwest a 34-23 lead.
Several possessions later, Cozad battled for an offensive rebound, grabbed the ball and finished. He was fouled on the basket and made the free throw for a 37-25 lead.
The Bearcats played with that type of passion throughout the first half. It was a complete half of basketball for Northwest on both ends of the court. The Bearcats made 50 percent of their shots and held Emporia State to 35 percent.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468