March 24, 2004
'Cat Comeback Bid Falls Short Against USI, 88-81
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Northwest Missouri State University's men's basketball team dug itself too deep a hole in Wednesday's NCAA Division II Elite Eight quarterfinal game against Southern Indiana. The Screaming Eagles jumpd out to a 27-7 lead in the first 10 minutes and held off a Bearcat comeback attempt to end Northwest's season, 88-81.
Trailing by 20 midway through the first half, Northwest clawed its way back into the game. Sky Wilson (Jr., Indio, Calif.) hit a pair of free throws with 2:21 remaining in the first half to get the 'Cats back within 10, 36-26. But Southern Indiana scored the last six points of the half to take a 16-point lead, 42-26, at the intermission.
Northwest started the second half on fire. Kelvin Parker (Sr., Raytown, Mo.) scored on a layup, then followed an Austin Meyer (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) steal with a three-pointer. That sparked a 12-0 Bearcat run to open the second half. Northwest trailed by just four, 42-38, with 16:49 to go in the game.
Southern Indiana stormed back. The Screaming Eagles missed only five of their 19 field-goal attempts in the second half. USI pushed the lead back to double digits by the 12-minute mark on a Bill Harris layup. The Screaming Eagles led by 16 again, with 8:25 remaining when Clarence Chillers scored to make it 67-51.
Northwest wouldn't go away. Meyer hit back-to-back three-pointers with less than five minutes left to pull the Bearcats within eight, 77-69. But Southern Indiana again pushed its lead into double digits. The Screaming Eagles led 83-72 with one minute left. But in the next 39 seconds, the Bearcats again got within striking distance. A Keanan Weir (Sr., Detroit, Mich.) three-pointer with 21 seconds left got the 'Cats within six, 85-79. A Byron Jackson (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) bucket with 10 seconds left pulled Northwest within five, but it was too little too late.
Parker led all scorers with 22 points. Jackson and Meyer each tallied 16, while Wilson added 14. Joe Gordon paced Southern Indiana with 21 points. Three Eagles scored in double figures.
Northwest finishes its season 29-5.
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