Aug. 20, 2009
McCollum, Bearcats to Debut against Missouri Nov. 13
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State and new head men's basketball coach Ben McCollum will open the 2009-10 season with an exhibition game against Big 12 Tournament Champion Missouri at 7 p.m. Nov. 13, inside Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
McCollum was announced as head coach in late March. He replaced Steve Tappmeyer, who retired following 21 years of service. The Bearcats were the 2008 MIAA Tournament Champions and won the regular season crown in 2007. The program has competed in the NCAA tournament eight times in the last 10 seasons with Elite Eight appearances in 2002 and 2004.
"Our team is excited and our program is appreciative of head coach Mike Anderson and the University of Missouri for granting us this opportunity," said McCollum. "Mizzou Arena provides one of the best game-day atmosphere's in the nation and that experience will be priceless for our team."
Missouri made an Elite Eight appearance of its own last year as part of a program-best 31-win season. The Tigers lose their top three scorers, but return two starters in senior guards Zaire Taylor and J.T. Tiller, last year's Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
McCollum has introduced seven new players and returns three starters in junior forward Elijah Allen (13.1 ppg) and senior guards Mike Larsen (7.8 ppg) and Edriss Floyd (7.1 ppg).
Northwest will begin its regular season slate with six consecutive home games starting with Manhattan Christian Nov. 16. Benedictine (Nov. 19), Baker (Nov. 24), Graceland (Nov.28), Emporia State (Dec. 2) and Washburn (Dec. 5) are included in the homestand.
The last time Northwest competed against Missouri was Nov. 10, 2004, in an exhibition game at Mizzou Arena (then named Paige Sports Arena) in Columbia. Linas Kleiza scored 23 points to lead the Tigers to a 90-60 win.
Austin Meyer, now the Bearcats' assistant coach, led Northwest with 14 points. Joel Osborn, who quarterbacked Northwest's football team to the national championship game the past two seasons, scored 11 points in what was his first game in a Northwest basketball jersey.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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