February 4, 2004
No. 2 Northwest Escapes CMSU With 79-75 Win
WARRENSBURG, Mo. - No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri State University escaped a back-and-forth affair with Central Missouri State Wednesday night at the CMSU Multipurpose Building. The Bearcats took a 79-75 win in a contest which featured 17 lead changes and 14 ties.
Northwest led 60-51 with nine minutes remaining in the game when Kelvin Parker (Sr., Raytown, Mo.) hit a three-pointer. But the Mules answered with a 10-0 run. Reggie Soward and Derek Weber each hit three-pointers for Central during the spurt, which left the Mules with a 61-60 lead at the 7:04 mark.
The Bearcats' Victor James (Fr., Crowley, Texas) finally stopped the bleeding with a 10-foot jumper. James' score put Northwest back on top 62-61. A Byron Jackson (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) layup with six minutes remaining put Northwest up by three, 64-61.
Central got a pair of free throws from both Dwight Williams and Kenan Oliver to regain the lead, 65-64. Once again, the lead swung back the other direction. Austin Meyer (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) hit a deep three-pointer from the right corner to give the Bearcats a 67-65 advantage with three minutes to go. Oliver tied it at the other end for the Mules.
But Meyer, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, hit another three from the right side. That long ball with 2:38 remaining gave the Bearcats the lead for good, 70-67. Northwest pushed the advantage to five with two minutes to go on a pair of Jackson free throws.
The Bearcats were nine-of-10 from the free-throw line over the final two minutes of the contest, putting it out of reach. Included in those free throws were a a pair from Travis Gardner (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.). Those two tosses from the charity stripe pushed Northwest's lead from two to four points, 79-75.
The first half was much of the same, as the two squads traded punches for the first 20 minutes. Central's James Collins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game 30-30 at the intermission.
Five Bearcats scored in double figures. Parker tallied 19, while Meyer had 15. James and Bilal Clarance (Jr., Copenhagen, Denmark) each notched 12. Jackson added 10. Central was paced by 22 from Weber. Three Mules reached double-figure scoring.
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