January 18, 2006
Withers Nets Career-High in 72-67 Bearcat Win Over Emporia StateMARYVILLE, Mo. - No. 23 Northwest Missouri State, freshly ranked first in the South Central Region this afternoon, received a career-high 16 points along with 11 rebounds from sophomore Matt Withers as Northwest held on for its fifth straight MIAA victory in the 72-67 win against Emporia State at Bearcat Arena. The lead changed eight times in the closely contested battle that saw Northwest hold a +10 rebounding advantage.
Northwest, who moves to 70-8 at home since 2000, improves to 14-3 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Emporia gets its four-game winning streak snapped and falls to 13-6 overall and 4-3 in the league.
Emporia State edged out to a 25-17 lead at the 8:43 mark of the first half thanks to a lay-up from Wes Book. That lead was the largest of the game for both clubs. But, Northwest inched closer beginning with a trey by junior Mose Howard and lay-up from redshirt freshman Hunter Henry, which ignited a 15-4 run over the final 8:43 of the half. The Bearcats held to a small 32-29 lead at intermission.
Both teams protected the ball extremely well in the first 20 minutes as there were a combined seven turnovers.
After ESU went up 41-39 with 14 minutes left, the Bearcats grabbed control in the next nine minutes going up 59-52 at the 5:06 mark. Seven different Northwest players scored during the 20-11 spurt. Leroy Dawson, who totaled a game-best 25 for the Hornets, kept his club close near the end nailing two treys and a jumper in the final two minutes. The Bearcats won its eighth straight game at home against the Hornets on the help of four free throws down the stretch to ice it.
Withers posted his second career double-double in 32 minutes of action. It was the first time in 17 games that a player besides Xzavier Gaines, Howard or Austin Meyer did not lead the team in scoring. Gaines finished with 15 points, 10 of them coming in the second half. Howard gathered 14 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Howard has hit 10-plus points in 11 consecutive games. Henry posted 10 points and four rebounds off the bench.
Emporia had two more players hit double figures with Ryan Blevins (14) and Steven Trotter (11). The Hornets shot slightly better (46.4) than the Bearcats (44.8) but were outscored by seven points (12-5) at the charity stripe.
Northwest stays home as Pittsburg State comes to Bearcat Arena on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
NOTES: Northwest improves to 25-17 in the all-time series with Emporia State ... Northwest has gone all 17 games this year having fewer turnovers than the opponent after two less tonight (8-10) ... After going scoreless at Missouri Southern on Saturday, Xzavier Gaines netted 15 points ... Hunter Henry has hit 10 points in two of the last three games - it took him an eight-game stretch to start the year to reach 10 points twice ... The Bearcats have not been outscored at the free throw line in the last five games ... Reggie Robinson, who sat out the last two with an injured shoulder, was the first off the bench and ended with two points in 24 points ... Former Northwest players Ben McCollum and Jesse Shaw were strolling the sidelines for the Emporia State coaching staff ... The five game winning streak is the longest since a six-game stretch during the 2003-04 season ... Northwest moves to 10-0 this year when leading at the half.
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