March 7, 2008
Bearcats Try To Take Three From PSU
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-It's not easy to beat any team three times in one season, but that's exactly what Northwest Missouri State has been asked to do in the first round of the MIAA tournament.
The second-seeded Bearcats (20-7) take on seventh-seeded Pittsburg State (18-9) at 6 p.m. tonight at Municipal Auditorium. It's a rematch of one of last year's MIAA tournament semifinal matches, won by the Gorillas. Northwest has won the three meetings since, including an NCAA tournament game last season and both contests this season.
Northwest enjoyed 16- and 21-point wins against PSU this year. The Gorillas scored 46 points in both games, their lowest scoring outputs of the season. Cory Abercrombie, named the MIAA's Most Valuable Player, totaled 20 points in the two contests.
The Bearcats are making their 17th consecutive MIAA tournament appearance and are looking for their 10th first-round victory in their last 11 years. Northwest has three MIAA tournament championships under head coach Steve Tappmeyer. Two of the three came as the No. 2 seed.
Northwest enters tonight's game having won seven of its last eight. Defense continues to be the recipe for success as just two of those eight teams scored more than 56 points. The Bearcats rank sixth nationally in points allowed.
Offensively, the Bearcats have shot better than 50 percent from the field in three straight games - all 20-point victories. Hunter Henry, last year's MIAA MVP has averaged 17.7 points and shot 60 percent from the floor in that span. Matt Withers is 17-of-23 (.739) and has averaged 14.3 points in the last three games.
Pittsburg State has the league's leading rebounder, but Northwest outrebounded the Gorillas by 10 in both games this season. Abercrombie had 16 of his team's 29 rebounds in the first meeting, a 62-46 Bearcat win in Pittsburg.
Henry averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds against PSU this season and has averaged 14 points and six rebounds in seven career games against the Gorillas.
The winner of tonight's game will play the winner of No. 3 Central Missouri and No. 6 Washburn Saturday at 8:15 p.m. The Bearcats swept Central Missouri during the regular season, but was 0-2 against Washburn.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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