Feb. 23, 2008
Bearcats Handle Adversity, Lions in Joplin
JOPLIN, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State competed without its head coach for the final 16:19 and played inspired basketball to roll to a 77-56 win against Missouri Southern Saturday at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The win is the Bearcats' fifth in six games and moves the team into a tie with the Lions for second place in the MIAA standings.
Northwest coach Steve Tappmeyer picked up two technical fouls in a span of 17 seconds and was forced to leave with his team in a 36-36 tie. The Bearcats outscored the Lions 41-18 after the technical free throws and pieced together one of their most impressive runs of the season.
The Bearcats scored 15 straight points during a four-minute span and held the Lions to four field goals in the game's final 12 minutes. Missouri Southern didn't register an offensive rebound in the second half. Northwest outrebounded Southern 19-8 in the second half.
Hunter Henry scored a game-high 20 points for his 16th career 20-point effort. Matt Withers notched a career-high 17 points on 8 of 10 shooting. He also recorded his 300th made field goal, making him the program's most accurate shooter (58.4 percent). He needed 300 made field goals to become eligible in that category.
Withers scored Northwest's first six points of the game and had 10 at the break. Lance Sullivan scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half and started the 15-0 run with a runner in the lane that gave the Bearcats a 46-43 lead with 11 minutes to play.
John Hawkins had a steal and pitched to Elijah Allen ahead for two points. Henry stole the ball at midcourt on the next possession and had a break-away layup, then threw a perfect touch pass into Withers for a basket and a foul. The free throw made it 54-43.
Andy Peterson scored in the lane on the Bearcats' next possession, forcing a Lion timeout. After a Southern miss, Henry came down and drilled his second 3 of the game. The rally finally ended on an Octavius Hawkins free throw.
Vincent Ateba had 14 points to lead Southern. T.J. Britton added 11. The Lions committed 22 turnovers, 12 in the second half, and shot 39 percent for the game.
The Bearcats shot 65.5 percent in the second half (19 of 29) and 54.7 percent for the game, their second-highest total this season.
Northwest built an 11-point lead in the first half, but saw it dwindle to one at the break. The Bearcats scored on their first four possessions of the second half to push the lead back to seven. Sullivan and John Hawkins hit 3-pointers on the team's first two.
The Lions made 3 of 4 technical free throws to complete a 9-0 run and take a 38-36 lead. Southern was 17 of 26 from the free-throw line compared to 10 of 14 for the Bearcats.
Up Next: Northwest will honor its seniors on the team's final home game of the season Wednesday against Missouri Western. Game time at Bearcat Arena is 7:30 p.m.
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Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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