November 21, 2003
Northwest Rolls, 78-61, in Milner Classic Opener
MARYVILLE , Mo. - No. 16-ranked Northwest Missouri State University opened play in the 28th Ryland Milner Classic with a 78-61 victory over Warner Southern Friday night at Bearcat Arena. The Bearcats advance to Saturday's championship game and will face Eastern New Mexcio at 8 p.m.
Kelvin Parker (Sr., Raytown, Mo.) led all scorers with 18 points for Northwest. Byron Jackson (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) recorded his first career double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Two other 'Cats reached double figures as well. Austin Meyer (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) scored 13 points, while Sky Wilson (Jr., Indio, Calif.) added 11.
Warner Southern took a 2-0 lead with 18:33 remaining in the first half. But a Jackson layup 1:35 later tied the contest at 2-2. Jesse Shaw (Jr., Lincoln, Neb.) converted a layup less than a minute later, giving the Bearcats the lead. It was a lead they would never relinquish.
Although Northwest never gave up the lead, Warner Southern made it interesting for much of the game. The Royals only faced a double-digit deficit once in the first half. Northwest took an 11-point lead late in the first half on a Jackson tip-in. Ten seconds later, Warner Southern cut its deficit to single digits, 37-28. At the intermission Northwest still had that nine-point advantage, 39-30.
The Bearcats pushed their advantage back into double digits just 12 seconds into the second half. Meyer scored on a layup, with a nice assist from Parker, who dished out six helpers in the contest. Northwest enjoyed at least a 10-point lead for all but one minute in the second half.
Parker hit a jumper with 11:18 remaining to put the 'Cats ahead by 17, 57-40. A 9-3 Warner Southern spurt pulled the Royals back within nine, 60-51, with 7:01 left in the contest. A pair of Jackson free throws at the 5:58 mark put the 'Cats back up by double digits, 62-51. A pair of free throws from Wilson with just more than one minute remaining gave the 'Cats a 20-point advantage.
Northwest forced Warner Southern into 21 turnovers. Of those turnovers, 13 were Bearcat steals. The 'Cats scored 26 points off turnovers, as opposed to just 11 for the Royals. The Bearcats only turned it over 11 times.
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