Nov. 10, 2011
Bearcats open season Friday at UMKC
MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball opens its season in a rare Friday afternoon contest against Division I UMKC at the Swinney Recreation Center at 1 p.m.
Friday is both teams’ season opener as the Kangaroos will open their season for a third straight year against an MIAA opponent. Northwest is coming off its only exhibition game of the season a 79-59 loss at Iowa.
The Bearcats are looking for their first 1-0 start under head coach Ben McCollum and optimism surrounds the green and white coaching staff. They have reason to feel good about Friday’s match-up with UMKC despite a 20-point loss to Iowa that looked closer in person than on paper while the Kangaroos are 1-1 in exhibition play with a loss to NAIA Benedictine last week.
“We had a really good effort against Iowa and the intensity is getting closer to where it needs to be,” said third-year head coach Ben McCollum. “We can play and compete at a high level as far as working hard and things of that nature and if we do that the score will reflect that.”
Newcomers for Northwest, Justin Clark and DeAngelo Hailey had solid outings in their first games with the Bearcats. Clark led the Bearcats with 13 while Hailey added six points on two three pointers.
While the Bearcats and Kangaroos have never met since UMKC made the move to Division I, the Bearcats hold a 6-2 advantage in the all-time series. And if history has anything to say about Friday’s game the momentum would be on Northwest’s side as they have won the last four meetings.
• The Bearcats fell 79-59 in its only exhibition action of the season to the University of Iowa last Sunday afternoon at Hawkeye-Carver Arena.
• Justin Clark led Northwest in scoring with 13 points and made one of three treys by the Bearcats against Iowa. In all 10 different Bearcats scored against the Hawkeyes.
• Head coach Ben McCollum- now in his third season- is looking for the Bearcats first trip to the MIAA tournament since 2007-08. Northwest finished 24-8 and won their fourth MIAA Tournament title before falling in the South Central Region quarterfinal to Central Oklahoma.
• McCollum returns an experienced squad that finished 10-16 a year ago. The Bearcat lineup also features a handful of transfers that look help Northwest return to the MIAA tournament.
• The Bearcats return starter DeShaun Cooper and part-time starters Kyle Haake and Dillon Starzl. Cooper led Northwest in scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game and was an all-MIAA second team selection.
• Starzl started in 18 games for the Bearcats and averaged 3.3 rebounds per game and 5.6 points while Haake also averaged 3.3 rebounds and saw action in all 26 games. Haake added 12 starts while scoring 7.2 points per game.
• McCollum added transfers DeAngelo Hailey (Kankakee CC (Ill.)) and Justin Clark (Illinois State) to help bolster the midline for Northwest. Clark was solid for the Redbirds starting in nine of the first 12 games and recorded four double-doubles. Hailey was an all-America at Kankakee where he averaged 18.6 points per game.
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