Feruary 23, 2005
Bearcats On the Winning Side of 58-57 Battle at Missouri Western
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Senior guard Travis Gardner made sure his last shot of the night counted. Gardner drilled a three-pointer from the top of the arc with :19 seconds remaining to send the Northwest Missouri State men's basketball team to a 58-57 victory over Missouri Western on senior night at the MWSC Fieldhouse.
Northwest, who snatched its sixth straight from the Griffons, improves to 18-10 overall and 8-9 in league action. Missouri Western dropped to an even 13-13 on the year and 7-10 in the MIAA.
The Bearcats connected on their first two baskets of the game courtesy of two jumpers from sophomore Brandon Maxie. Streaking out to a 9-2 edge with six-plus minutes gone, the 'Cat defense held Missouri Western to a one-of-eight field goal shooting performance in the first 7:21 of the game. The Griffons also turned the ball over four times during a 4:54 scoreless stretch.
A relatively new face was inserted into the Northwest line-up as redshirt freshman Kyle Garner hit three straight baskets during one point to keep the guests in the lead, 25-17. His eight scores by the half tied a career-high.
Thanks to a 6-0 spurt, the Griffons cut the deficit at two before a three-point play at 1:20 from senior Byron Jackson capped off the half's scoring. Northwest was up 30-25 in the first stanza.
Spurred by a Addae Houston lay-up out of the locker room, Northwest reeled off a 9-1 run to take a 39-26 edge and forced the Griffons into a time-out at the 17:33 mark. With the count at 45-32 in favor of NWMSU, Missouri Western countered with a 22-7 run to take its first lead of the game 54-42 at the 1:30 mark. The Griffons held Northwest scoreless for 4:42 during their comeback.
After MWSC's Jason Warren scored on a trey and bank-shot in the lane to give his club a 57-53 advantage with :37 seconds remaining, two Jesse Shaw free throws brought Northwest to a 55-57 count. On the ensuing inbounds, Northwest stole the ball and Gardner found himself open at the top of the key as he grabbed the game's headline.
The Griffons had two opportunities to secure the win but an attempt each by Grady and Demarius Bolds rimmed out before the horn sounded.
Both teams shot under 40 percent with the 'Cats holding a 39 percent-36 percent edge. Much of the game's team stats were similar with each club garnering 35 rebounds and the Griffons turning the ball over 13 time to Northwest's 12.
Four Bearcats posted nine or more points with Maxie and junior Austin Meyer each getting 11. Jackson tied with Meyer for team-high rebounding honors (8) as he chipped in nine points. Garner ended with a personal-best nine points in 19 minutes of action.
Grady finished with a game-best 17 points and added six assists. Bolds came away with 14 points with nine of them coming via the three-pointer.
The Bearcats, who end the night tied for fourth with Emporia State and Southwest Baptist, welcome departing MIAA-member Missouri-Rolla for a 3:30 p.m. matinee this Saturday. The contest will mark Senior Day and also the season finale.
NOTES: Despite trailing in the overall series 28-30, Northwest has won three of the last five meetings in St. Joseph…Northwest held a 30-25 halftime edge for the first time since the Emporia State contest (Feb. 5)…Freshman Kyle Garner notched his first points in a game since Dec. 20 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas - a streak of 18 contests; he saw action in just one of those 18 games…Tonight was Brandon Maxie's first double-digit scoring performance since 12 versus Southwest Baptist (Jan. 29)…Redshirt freshman Matt Withers entered the game for the first time in the last four contests - he was hobbled by a sprained right ankle…There were a total of three technical fouls called with two going against the Griffons…With an announced attendance of 2,974, many were of the Green & White variety…Moving to a perfect 14-0 when shooting better than the opponent, Northwest held its first opponent under 35 percent for the first time in 18 games.
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