February 18, 2006
Northwest Survives at #7 Southwest Baptist 67-61
BOLIVAR, Mo. - It was a matchup between the league's best defense and best offense. Northwest Missouri State held the most prolific offense to more than 20 points under its season average coming away with a 67-61 victory at No. 7 Southwest Baptist tonight in MIAA men's basketball action. SBU shot just 37 percent from the field - it averaged an MIAA-best 48 percent coming into the game.
Northwest becomes the only team to sweep SBU this season and improves to 18-8 overall and 9-6 in league play. Meanwhile, Southwest Baptist goes down for just the second time at home in 2005-06 and falls to 21-4 on the year and 10-4 in the MIAA. SBU lost to Missouri Southern on Jan. 24 at Meyer Arena.
The visiting Bearcats took their largest lead of the game, 17-4, on a basket from redshirt freshman Hunter Henry at the 11:17 mark of the first half. Henry and senior Addae Houston had six points each during that stretch. The Northwest defense held SBU without a basket for a 5:41 stretch in jumping out to the big lead.
However, SBU, the No. 1-ranked team in the South Central Region, went on a 23-13 spurt to come within a basket at 30-28 with one minute left in the first stanza. From there, a free throw from senior Xzavier Gaines and a fall-away jumper from junior Reggie Robinson gave Northwest a 33-28 lead at the half.
SBU went for just a 32 percent clip in the first 20 minutes and turned the ball over 11 times.
After Northwest led by five points, 38-33, on a triple from Gaines just minutes into the second half, a Frans Steyn dunk brought the crowd of 2,369 to their feet and sparked an 18-10 SBU spurt. At that point, SBU held a 51-48 edge, its largest of the game.
Hunter's play down low was the difference for Northwest. His seven straight points was part of a 15-5 run in the final seven minutes that gave Northwest a seven-point cushion with :48 seconds remaining. Down 63-56, SBU was forced to foul and Northwest made good on 6-of-8 free throw attempts in the final minute to secure the road win.
Off the bench, Henry ended with a career-best 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Gaines posted 13 points while junior Mose Howard came away with 10 points. Sheldon Pace led the SBU Bearcats with 17 points and Steyn collected his eighth double-double of the season with 15 rebounds and 12 points.
Northwest, who tied a season-low with three treys, shot 45 percent (21-of-47) overall from the field. Northwest was out-rebounded 41-23 in the game with no player grabbing more than four rebounds.
Northwest heads home for the final regular season contest of 2005-06 as Washburn comes to Maryville. Tip-off on Wednesday is set for 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: Northwest betters its mark in the overall series to 28-10 and 12-5 in Bolivar … Northwest is now 2-3 against nationally-ranked teams in 2005-06 … Both teams struggled to hit from the floor in the first half; Northwest did not make a field goal for a 7:08 stretch and SBU went 4:57 without splashing the net … Ranked 26th in the country in scoring defense coming into the game (63.6), Northwest moved to 18-2 this season when holding the opponent under 70 points … Hunter Henry's former career-high was 14 points versus Dallas Christian on Dec. 17 … SBU came into the contest scoring an average of 81.8 points per contest … Northwest was ranked No. 4 in the region coming into the week.
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