Jan. 23, 2009
Northwest Hosts Emporia State Saturday
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State (8-9, 3-7 MIAA) begins the second half of the conference season by hosting Emporia State (13-4, 7-3) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. inside Bearcat Arena.
The Bearcats won three of four to close out the first half of the MIAA schedule, but find themselves in a tie for ninth place in league standings at 3-7. Missouri Western is eighth at 4-6 and Missouri Southern and Fort Hays State are 5-5.
The top eight teams will advance to the postseason conference tournament. Northwest is the defending champion of that event, having beaten eighth-seeded Emporia State 57-51 last March.
The Hornets avenged that loss by beating Northwest 79-56 on its home court Dec. 3 in this season's MIAA opener. Robert Moores came off the bench to hit five three's and finished with 23 points to lead Emporia State. Hunter Henry had game-highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Bearcats.
Despite the loss, Northwest has won eight of 10 against Emporia State and 10 of the last 11 meetings inside Bearcat Arena. The Hornets lone win in Maryville during that span came a year ago on a last-second 3-pointer by Andrew Davison.
Emporia State is coming off a 78-68 loss at Fort Hays State Wednesday, which dropped the Hornets a game behind Southwest Baptist atop the league standings. Two of Emporia State's three MIAA losses have come on the road, where the Hornets will play six of their final 10 games.
Two of the league's top three rebounders will be in action Saturday, but one stands 6-feet-9-inches and the other stands 6-feet-2-inches. The former, Henry, leads the MIAA with 9.1 rebounds per game and is second in scoring at 17.9. Guard Lamar Wilbern, the latter, leads Emporia State with averages of 16.1 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Emporia State led 34-29 at halftime of the team's first meeting. The Hornets made seven 3-pointers and shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half to pull away. Emporia State outscored Northwest 30-6 from behind the three-point arc.
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