March 1, 2008
Another 20-Win Season For Tappmeyer, Bearcats
HAYS, Kan.-Northwest Missouri State decimated another opponent in the first half and shot a season-best 55.8 percent from the field to earn its 20th win of the season Saturday. Hunter Henry scored a game-high 21 points and the Bearcats beat Fort Hays State 73-51 in Gross Coliseum.
It's the ninth 20-win season for Northwest and head coach Steve Tappmeyer in the last 11 years. Tappmeyer now has 10 20-win seasons in his tenure. Northwest had seven 20-win seasons in the 74 years prior to Tappmeyer's arrival in 1988.
The Bearcats won seven of their final eight regular season games and have shot better than 50 percent in their last three, which were all wins by more than 20 points. One team in the last seven games scored more than 56 points against Northwest.
Six different Bearcats combined to score 18 of the game's first 22 points Saturday. Northwest (20-7, 12-6 MIAA) shot 62 percent in the first half and held leads of 18-4 and 41-16. Eddie Gray was 3-for-3 from behind the arc and had 11 first-half points for Northwest. Henry had 12 points before halftime.
The scene was similar to the clinic Northwest hosted Wednesday against Missouri Western. The Bearcats shot 73 percent in the first half against the Griffons and led 57-28 at the half. Northwest took a 43-22 advantage to the locker room against the Tigers.
Henry reached 20 points for the third time in five games. Gray didn't miss a shot in his 13-point performance. The Bearcats were 9 of 17 from behind the arc and 16 of 23 from the free-throw line.
Fort Hays State (18-9, 10-8) got within 14 points early in the second half, but Henry knocked down a pair of 3's and the lead was back to 21. Northwest has won all four games against the Tigers since they joined the league two seasons ago.
Tyrone Evans and Corbin Kuntzsch scored 12 points each to lead Fort Hays, which will be the five seed taking on the four seed, Missouri Southern, in the first round of the MIAA tournament. The Tigers had won five in a row heading into Saturday's game.
Northwest has earned the No. 2 seed in next week's MIAA tournament and will face Pittsburg State, a team the Bearcats swept during the regular season. The Gorillas beat the Bearcats in the semifinal round of last year's MIAA tournament. Northwest returned the favor and beat Pittsburg State in the NCAA tournament.
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