March 14, 2006
Northwest Loses At the Buzzer In Regional Final
BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Tarleton State's Derek Atwood tipped in a missed lay-up as the horn sounded and his shot lifted the Texans to a 72-71 win over No. 5 seed Northwest Missouri State this evening in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Men's Basketball Championships, tonight at Meyer Sports Center. Junior Mose Howard hit a running 8-footer in the lane with 9.2 seconds remaining before Atwood's game-winner.
Tarleton, the No. 2 seed in the region, advances to the Elite 8 and faces the Northeast Region Champion Stonehill (Mass.), who was a winner tonight over Massachusetts-Lowell. The two teams square off on Wednesday, March 22 at 8:30 p.m. EST in Springfield, Mass.
Northwest ends its season at 22-10 overall.
"I feel like we have a very special basketball team, one that showed lots of guts and heart," said head coach Steve Tappmeyer. "I am very proud of this team but we got beat by another good team. I think this (Northwest) is the best team we have had in getting ready to play."
The first half saw 14 lead changes as Tarleton (27-6) snatched the biggest advantage in the first 20 minutes with a five-point margin three times, the last at the 4:50 mark. Northwest held the Texans without a point for over four minutes as time wound down and took a brief 29-28 lead with one minute remaining. A floater from senior Xzavier Gaines put a cap to a 6-0 Northwest spurt. TSU's John Davis was an inside presence helping his club to a 31-29 lead at the half. Davis scored seven of his team's first nine points and finished with 14 by the half.
LaShon Sheffield hit a 3-pointer with 17:59 left in the game to push the TSU cushion to 37-31 before Northwest crawled back. Two triples from senior Addae Houston and a 14-footer from junior Victor James put Northwest up 46-43 and forced Tarleton into a time-out. The Bearcats, who made 9-of-18 3-pointers, stretched the lead to 65-57 fueled by two straight treys from Houston, the second at the seven-minute mark. A three-point play from redshirt freshman Hunter Henry gave Northwest its biggest lead at 66-57 at the 5:06 mark.
But from there, the Texans took advantage of five Northwest turnovers and received scoring from its "Big Three" in the final minutes. Davis, Sheffield and Nic Gamble notched all 15 points during the game-ending 15-5 spurt to close out the final 5:06.
Houston finished with a season-high 21 points, two away from his career-high set last season. He made 6-of-7 from behind the arc in his final game as a Bearcat. Gaines, who was named to the Regional All-Tournament Team, posted 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting effort. Gaines has averaged 16.0 points in his last three contests - the three games before that he put in 6.7 points per game. Howard totaled 12 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists while Henry had 11 points and five caroms.
Davis ended with 22 points with seven of those coming from the foul line. As a team, Tarleton shot 13-of-27 (.481) from the free throw line overall compared to 8-of-10 (.800) for the Bearcats. Sheffield had 20 points while Gamble recorded 14 and a team-high seven rebounds.
Northwest was 27-of-52 (.519) from the floor but turned the ball over 17 times. Tarleton shot 43 percent (26-of-60) and 7-of-19 (.368) from 3-point land.
NOTES: Northwest falls to 9-13 in the NCAA Tournament including 2-2 in regional finals ... Northwest is 3-4 against teams from the Lone Star Conference in NCAA Tournament play ... Junior Reggie Robinson played 12 minutes off the bench after sitting out Sunday's match with a slight concussion ... The Texans have won 17 of their last 19 games overall with both losses coming against West Texas A&M - a team that Northwest defeated in the first round on Saturday .... TSU is ranked 13th in the latest NABC poll ... Northwest is 0-2 all-time against Tarleton having dropped both in the NCAA Tournament ... It was just the third time this season that Northwest turned the ball over more than the opponent - all three have been losses ... The 52 percent shooting effort was the best for Northwest since 57 percent in the 90-42 win over Pittsburg State (Jan. 21).
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