February 21, 2004
Tapp Wins 300th, 'Cats Come Back to Defeat MSSU
JOPLIN, Mo. -- Northwest Missouri State University head coach Steve Tappmeyer reached a career milestone Saturday afternoon in Joplin, Mo. He led his No. 6-ranked Bearcats to a 93-81, come-from-behind win over Missouri Southern to register his 300th career coaching victory.
It didn't look like Tappmeyer would get to 300 early on Saturday. Missouri Southern opened the game on fire from outside. The Lions hit four three-pointers in the first eight minutes, including three from MacKenzie Sherrel. Those long-range bombs led MSSU to a 23-10 lead.
Northwest tried to whittle away at its deficit, cutting it to single digits twice. But Missouri Southern pushed the lead back to 10 at the 10:57 mark and 11 with 7:56 remaining. Finally, a 14-5 Bearcat run pulled Northwest within one, 33-32, with 3:40 left in the first half. Ten of the 14 points in that span came from the free throw line.
Missouri Southern took a five-point advantage into the locker room. Caleb Engelken and Jeremy Jones hit a pair of three-pointers in the final two minutes of the first half to give the Lions a 41-36 lead at the intermission.
Missouri Southern quickly pushed its advantage back into double digits in the opening moments of the second half. A Deon Rose three-point play made the score 47-36 just 53 seconds into the second period. The Bearcats pulled within four at the 16:27 mark. But the Lions responded again. MSSU led 55-45 with 15:17 remaining.
Northwest started working on its deficit once more. This time, the Bearcats would get over the hump. Travis Gardner (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.) hit a three-pointer with 14:34 left. With just more than 10 minutes remaining Jesse Shaw (Jr., Lincoln, Neb.) also hit a trey. The two three-pointers were bookends on a 19-5 outburst, which left the Bearcats on top, 64-59. Northwest never trailed again.
Missouri Southern pulled within two at the eight-minute mark on a Cavness layup. The Lions would get no closer, however. Northwest led by five, 71-66, with just less than six minutes remaining. Austin Meyer (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) pushed that lead to eight with a three-pointer at the 5:40 mark. Kelvin Parker (Sr., Raytown, Mo.) scored on a layup with 2:04 left to push the Bearcat lead into double digits for the first time, 83-72.
Northwest clinched things at the free-throw line, going six-for-six over the final two minutes before Parker put an exclamation point on the victory. The 5-foot 11-inch point guard tossed down a dunk with 20 seconds remaining to put the icing on the cake for Tappmeyer and the 'Cats.
The Bearcats shot nearly 55 percent from the floor in the contest, while Missouri Southern converted exactly half of its field-goal attempts. Five Northwest players reached double-figure scoring, while four Lions also hit double digits. Cavness led all scorers, pouring in 21 for Missouri Southern. Sky Wilson (Jr., Indio, Calif.) and Byron Jackson (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) each tallied 18 to lead Northwest. Jackson also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Parker tacked on 17 for the 'Cats, while Shaw scored 14 and Victor James (Fr., Crowley, Texas) tossed in 12.
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Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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