Nov. 16, 2007
Opening Night for Tappmeyer and His BearcatsMARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State's 2007-08 season has arrived and will be tipped off inside Bearcat Arena tonight as the fourth-ranked Bearcats host the Baker Wildcats (3-1) at 7:30 p.m. in the opening game of the Ryland Milner Classic.
Northwest coach Steve Tappmeyer enters his 20th season with the highest preseason ranking in school history. The Bearcats return four starters from a team that finished 24-7 a year ago and were the co-champions of the MIAA. The fifth starter will be senior point guard Mose Howard, who missed all of last season with an injury. Howard led Northwest in points, assists and steals two seasons ago.
Baker, an NAIA Division II institution, was 14-16 a year ago and 6-14 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. The Wildcats lost four of its top five scorers from last season, but that hasn't prevented the team from getting off to a hot start. Baker won its first three games before losing 85-70 to Ottawa last weekend.
Tonight will be Baker's first true road contest of the season. Three of the Wildcats' first four games were played in Baldwin City, Kan., and one was on a neutral floor.
Northwest has the sixth-longest active home winning streak in the nation at 16 games. The Bearcats were 14-0 on their home court last season, winning by an average of 22 points.
Preseason All-American and last year's MIAA Most Valuable Player Hunter Henry takes the court for the first time as a junior. Henry led the Bearcats with 17.6 points and 7.5 rebounds a year ago. He scored in double figures in all but one game last season. He had a career-high 33 points against Washburn.
Joining Henry in the frontcourt are seniors Matt Withers, Kelvin Cayruth and newcomer Andrais Thornton, who started for Tappmeyer's alma mater, Southeast Missouri State, two years ago.
The backcourt is headed by MIAA Freshman of the Year Lance Sullivan and senior Andy Peterson, who started 27 games and averaged more than 10 points a contest last season. Sophomore Mike Larsen played in all but three games a year ago. Eddie Gray, who redshirted last year, is expected to see time at the point.
Season Openers: Northwest has won 10 straight season openers and 18 of 19 under Tappmeyer.
About Ryland Milner: Ryland Milner '33 spent 38 years at Northwest as a student-athlete, coach, faculty member and athletic director.
Injury Update: Senior guard John Hawkins will sit miss the opening weekend with a leg injury.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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