March 12, 2006
Northwest Heads to Regional Championship With 83-80 Win over Southwest Baptist
BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Northwest Missouri State is headed to the sweet 16 of the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championships after a 83-80 victory over No. 1 seed Southwest Baptist tonight in the Meyer Sports Center in the South Central Regional Semifinals. Northwest went 25-of-31 (.806) from the foul line including 10-of-12 in the final two minutes to give Northwest a 3-1 record this year against the nationally-ranked SBU Bearcats.
Northwest (22-9) heads to its fourth regional championship in the last five seasons and will face No. 2 seed Tarleton (Tex.) State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. from Bolivar. Tarleton defeated Central Missouri State 62-59 earlier today. Southwest Baptist ends its season at 27-5 overall.
"This was a very intense ball game as this was the fourth time hooking up with them (SBU)," said head coach Steve Tappmeyer, who heads to his fourth regional championship. "We knew it was going to be a challenge coming into this building. I am just so proud of the kids against a very good Southwest Baptist team."
SBU opened up a 11-6 lead hitting on 5-of-6 shooting, including its first four attempts, to start the game. Northwest grabbed its second lead of the game, 16-14 at the 13:40 mark, on a put-back by senior Austin Meyer. A Deon Davis jumper followed by two straight baskets by Sheldon Pace gave the hosts a 21-16 edge. Southwest Baptist saw its lead increase to 37-26, its largest of the game, under the eight-minute mark.
A frantic finish ensued in the half's final five-plus minutes. Senior Addae Houston, who posted 11 points by the intermission, hit a 3-pointer with 5:37 remaining to cut the deficit to six. Northwest hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final stretch to come within two points at 40-38. Then, Pace scored with :17 seconds remaining for his 17th point of the half before junior Mose Howard banked a three from the top of the arc as the horn sounded. SBU held a 47-45 lead at the half.
The score remained close in the second half until SBU's Jim Grabowski hit a basket at the 11:16 mark, which gave his club a 67-59 lead. Redshirt freshman Hunter Henry ignited a 8-0 Northwest run and helped Northwest forge a 67-67 tie. Junior Victor James, who has been stepping up in the postseason, nailed consecutive 14-footers and Northwest led 73-70 with under five minutes. However, Jason Jemison and Danny Norman put SBU back up by three thanks to back-to-back treys before Northwest won the game at the foul line.
Northwest was accurate at the line at the finish and stood strong on the defensive end giving up just one basket in the final two minutes - a contested triple from Jemison with :16 seconds left. The free throw line shooting was superb for Northwest as it made 10 straight at one point down the stretch. Senior Xzavier Gaines hit four of those as he compiled 15 points overall.
James hit for 14 points off the bench, the most since going for 14 against St. Mary (Kan.) in the season-opener. Houston ended with a season-best 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting while Howard totaled 11 points. Howard added eight assists and five rebounds.
Pace led all scorers with 24 points along with seven rebounds. Jemison finished with 20 points while Frans Steyn had 14 rebounds. The 7-2 Steyn only had one field goal attempt and two points.
SBU was just 4-of-10 (.400) from the charity stripe but shot 51 percent (31-of-61) overall including 14-of-37 (.378) from three-point land. Northwest shot 46 percent (26-of-57) overall and turned the ball over eight times.
NOTES: Northwest moves to 9-12 in the NCAA Tournament and is 6-1 in its last seven contests ... Senior Austin Meyer moves past Russ Miller for sixth-place on the school's career scoring list - Meyer has 1,288 ... Junior Ed Hudson notched his first points, two on free throws, since the Emporia State game on Feb. 8 ... Against the MIAA, Northwest now holds a 3-3 mark in the NCAA Tournament ... Junior Victor James has gone for 10-plus points in two of his last four games this postseason ... The Bearcats win for the first time in six tries when playing the host school in the regional tournament.
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