March 14, 2004
Northwest Edges Washburn in Semifinals, 62-61
STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Northwest Missouri State led by one point with less than 15 seconds remaining in Sunday night's NCAA Division II South Central Regional Semifinal. The Bearcats needed one defensive stop to advance to the regional championship game.
Northwest got what it needed when Washburn's Jeremy Cunningham was stripped by Sky Wilson (Jr., Indio, Calif.) with three seconds remaining. The Bearcats' Kelvin Parker (Sr., Raytown, Mo.) secured possession with less than two seconds remaining. Northwest's inbound pass to Wilson was successful, running out the clock. The Bearcats advanced to their third regional championship game in four years with the victory.
Northwest led throughout the entire first half. The Bearcats got back-to-back three-pointers from Parker and a third from Austin Meyer (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) to grab a 9-3 lead early. The Bearcats pushed their advantage to 10 with 2:51 left in the first half on a Byron Jackson (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) jumper. It was the first time all season that Washburn had ever trailed by double digits.
The Bearcats took a seven-point lead into the locker room at halftime. But Washburn clawed its way back into the game with stingy defense. Northwest scored only nine points in the first 12:30 of the second half. A Jerad Head layup with 7:31 remaining capped a 21-9 Washburn run, giving the Ichabods a five-point lead, 52-47.
Parker answered with a three-pointer for Northwest. Shaw hit a pair of free throws on the Bearcats' next possession, tying the game at 52-52 with 6:33 left. Neither team led by more than two over the next four minutes. Parker hit a jumper for the Bearcats to extend their lead to three, 62-59, with 1:54 remaining. Steve Bonner scored for Washburn with 1:19 left to make it 62-61.
Washburn grabbed 25 offensive rebounds in the game and out-rebounded Northwest 49-32. The Ichabods were unable to capitalize on those offensive boards, scorign only 12 second-chance points. The Bearcats shot 41 percent, compared to just 31 percent for the Ichabods.
Parker scored a game-high 20 points to lead Northwest. Jackson tackd on 11. Cunningham led Washburn with 17, including a nine-of-10 performance at the free-throw line. Jerad Head scored 14 for the Ichabods.
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