March 15, 2008
Bearcats Advance Past Hilltoppers
STEPHENVILLE, Texas-Hunter Henry scored 21 points and Eddie Gray added 14 as Northwest Missouri State beat St. Edward's 72-48 Saturday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament at Wisdom Gymnasium. The Bearcats advance to play Central Oklahoma in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Northwest jumped out to a 15-0 lead and didn't look back. The second-seeded Bearcats (24-7) led 38-17 at halftime and by as many as 30 in the second half. St. Edward's, the No. 7 seed, committed 26 turnovers and got just three points each from leading scorers Shawn Weinstein and Daniel Pierre.
Gray, a freshman playing in his first NCAA tournament, made a season-best four 3-pointers and finished two points shy of his career high. His first 3 gave the Bearcats an 18-3 lead seven minutes into the game. He hit a jumper, then buried another 3 to make it 23-6 nine minutes into the game.
St. Edward's (23-7), playing in its third straight NCAA tournament, was rattled early and never recovered. The Hilltoppers were 5-of-18 from the field in the first half and committed 14 turnovers. St. Edward's has yet to advance out of the first round in three tries.
The Bearcats scored 35 points off turnovers and had a season-high 19 steals. Many in the early going led to easy run outs on the offensive end. Lance Sullivan had two fast-break buckets as part of Northwest's first 15 points. Henry stole and pitched ahead to Mike Larsen to make it 15-0 after five minutes of play.
The Hilltoppers' first field goal was a 3-pointer by Dian Ivanov, who came off the bench to lead St. Edward's with 14 points. The Hilltoppers' five starters combined to score 16 points.
Jannik Zimmer hit a 3 on St. Edward's first possession of the second half, but the Bearcats scored the next six points to push the lead to 24 points.
Henry hit both shots he took in the second half, where he had eight of his 21 points. Andrais Thornton scored all eight of his points in the second half for Northwest.
Henry was 7-of-9 from the field in the game and added eight rebounds. The Bearcats shot 54 percent from the field compared to 40 percent for St. Edward's.
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