November 22, 2003
Bearcats Hold On, Take Milner Classic Title
MARYVILLE , Mo. - No. 16-ranked Northwest Missouri State University survived a hot-shooting Eastern New Mexico squad to win the 28th Ryland Milner Classic Saturday night at Bearcat Arena. The Greyhounds shot a blistering 63 percent from the field. But Northwest forced 20 turnovers and held on down the stretch for the 90-82 victory.
Both squads were well over 60 percent shooting from the floor for much of the first half. Northwest held a 24-20 advantage with 10:56 remaining until halftime. The Bearcats then got buckets from Austin Meyer (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.), Sky Wilson (Jr., Indio, Calif.) and Kelvin Parker (Sr., Raytown, Mo.) for a 6-0 spurt to put them on top 30-20 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
But Northwest cooled off for the next four minutes, allowing Eastern New Mexico to put together an offensive outburst of its own. The Greyhounds scored 13 straight to take a 33-30 advantage with five minutes left until halftime. Garland Coleman scored five of the 13 for ENMU during the run. The Bearcats tied the game 39-39 with just more than one minute left in the half on a Parker three-point play. The Greyhounds took a two-point lead, 41-39, into the locker room when Jamal Washington scored with 10 seconds left.
The lead changed hands five times in the first four minutes of the second half. The contest remained extremely close over the first 12 minutes of the second period. Between the 16-minute and eight-minute marks, there were five ties. The game was tied 67-67 with eight minutes to go, when Meyer scored inside the lane to give Northwest the lead for good.
A breakaway layup from Wilson, set up by a Jesse Shaw (Jr., Lincoln, Neb.) steal, put Northwest up 71-67 with 7:44 left. But the Greyhounds wouldn't go away. Eastern New Mexico didn't trail by more than two possessions for almost the entire second half, consistently answering every Bearcat bucket. Northwest led by just two when Byron Jackson (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) scored inside on an assist by Wilson to put the 'Cats up 84-80.
From there, the 'Cats hit six-of-eight from the free-throw line to put the victory on ice.
Meyer scored a career-high 26 points for Northwest to lead four scorers in double figures. Parker added 22, while Jackson scored 15 and Shaw added 10. Jackson led the way on the boards for the 'Cats with six rebounds. Northwest moved to 3-0 on the young season with the victory.
Jamaal Hunnicutt and Garland Coleman each scored 16 points for Eastern New Mexico. Six Greyhounds reached double-figure scoring. Hunnicutt pulled down a game-high seven rebounds for ENMU, which lost its first game of the season and fell to 2-1.
Meyer was named the MVP of the Milner Classic, while he was joined by Bearcats Parker and Jackson on the All-Classic team. Eastern's Jamaal Hunnicutt, Rockhurst's Terrance Dopson and Warner Southern's Ryan Menten were the other members of the All-Classic team.
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