Jan. 25, 2008
Defending Champs Collide at Bearcat Arena
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Defending MIAA co-champions Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri State take the hardwood for the first time in 2008 at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Bearcat Arena.
Both teams finished 15-3 in the conference standings last year, but have combined for seven league losses already this season. It'll be the sixth time in the last 18 meetings that neither team is ranked in the NABC Poll.
The Bearcats (12-4, 4-3 MIAA) and Mules (10-6, 3-4) spilt their season series a year ago with each team defending its home court. The teams met a third time in the NCAA regional semifinal, where Central Missouri advanced with a 72-61 win.
Just two Central Missouri players, Fred Dudley and Kevin Wollbrinck, played in all three head-to-head matchups last season. The two combined for 24 points in the series. Northwest returns seven players that combined to score 175 of the Bearcats' 198 points.
Filling the Mules' roster are eight transfer student-athletes, seven of which combine with Dudley and Wollbrinck to account for UCM's nine-leading scorers this season. Four are expected to start Saturday.
Joe Young (Kellogg C.C.) and Tremaine Luellen (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M) lead the Mules with 14.1 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. Young is the second-leading 3-point shooter in the MIAA. Luellen is the Mules' most accurate shooter at 48 percent.
Five Northwest players have scored between 17 and 20 points during the Bearcats' current two-game win streak, including freshman Elijah Allen who tied his season-high of 12 against Truman. Seven different players have led Northwest in scoring this season.
As expected, it's the Bearcats' defense that has led to their success. MIAA teams are scoring 17 points less than their season average against Northwest. Three conference teams were held 20 points below their season average.
Offensively, Northwest has topped 70 points twice in league play after scoring more than 80 points in four of nine non-conference games. Two scorers remain missing as Andy Peterson (back) and Eddie Gray (personal reasons) are expected to miss Saturday's game.
The Bearcats have lost four of their last five at home. The Mules have lost four of five on the road. Something has to give Saturday.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468