Jan. 2, 2008
SBU Holds Off Defending Champ Northwest
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Reigning MIAA co-champion and 11th-ranked Northwest Missouri State began its title defense on the wrong side of a 67-66 decision against Southwest Baptist Wednesday in the league opener for both teams. It was SBU's first win inside Bearcat Arena since 1994, a span of 12 games.
Southwest Baptist (8-2, 1-0 MIAA) won the battle of the Bearcats by taking a nine-point lead into halftime and an eight-point lead into the final minute. SBU never trailed in the contest and hit 11-of-22 3-pointers to win its sixth game in a row.
Northwest (8-2, 0-1 MIAA) cut the lead to one with 20 seconds left and twice had looks to take the lead. Lance Sullivan missed a 3-pointer with nine seconds left. Mose Howard stole an inbounds pass with two seconds remaining, but Northwest failed to get a shot off before time expired.
Southwest Baptist got all its points from its starters and all but 11 were scored by three players. Jim Grabowski hit five 3's and had a game-high 21 points. Matthew Rogers was 9-for-11 from the field and had 20. D'Ante Harris hit two of his four 3-pointers in the final two minutes and finished with 15.
Howard came off the bench and led Northwest with 17 points. He tied the game at 46 with a tough drive to the hoop with 11 minutes to play in the second half. It was the only tie of the game.
Hunter Henry cut the SBU lead to 51-50 with a pair of free throws with eight minutes remaining. Grabowski answered with a 3, then stole the inbounds pass and found Harris for an easy two to take the lead back to six.
Howard drove and found Matt Withers wide open in the lane for a bucket to get Northwest within two with 2:27 left, but Harris hit back-to-back 3's and the lead was eight with 1:07 remaining. Harris was 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
Northwest was 5-for-20 (.250) from behind the arc and got to the free-throw line just 10 times, its second-fewest total this season. Northwest had 14 steals and forced 23 turnovers, but couldn't survive 52 percent shooting by SBU.
Hunter finished with 16 points and a team-high five boards. Withers had 10 points and Sullivan chipped in eight for Northwest.
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