Feb. 25, 2012
Northwest knocks off MSSU claims share of title
MARYVILLE, Mo – It was a heavy weight bout Saturday with each fighter throwing punches and battling to the final bell. After all the dust cleared it was 16th-ranked Northwest Missouri State outlasting 10th-ranked Missouri Southern 67-64 on Saturday clinching a share of the MIAA Regular Season Championship.
The Bearcats improved to 21-5 on the year and 15-5 in the MIAA finishing in a three-way tie with Central Missouri and Washburn for the regular season title. Defending champion Missouri Southern fell to 22-6 overall and 14-6 in league play.
With time running down Missouri Southern missed a shot and a tip-in under their own basket before the smallest player on the court grabbed the biggest rebound of his career.
DeShaun Cooper corralled the Keane Thomann miss and stepped to the free throw line after being fouled, sinking both with two seconds left. Cooper finished with a game high 21 points, his fourth straight game of 20-plus points to close the regular season. The junior added eight assists and went 3-for-4 from behind the three-point line.
The Lions would have a half court heave at the buzzer as the Bearcats claimed their first conference championship since the 2006-07 season.
Cooper hit a three pointer to open the game as Northwest would lead most of the first half. The Bearcats trailed just briefly as the Lions hit a jumper at the 10:12 mark taking a 16-14 lead.
Northwest would steal the momentum back on the next possession as DeAngelo Hailey hit a jumper sparking a 14-5 Northwest run. From there the Bearcats would take a 34-23 lead at halftime.
In the second half Northwest led the entire half fighting off continuous runs by the defending league champion.
After a three pointer from Cooper that gave Northwest a 61-50 lead, MSSU would rally to tie the game with just over a minute remaining. However, the conference’s leading free throw shooter, DeShaun Cooper, hit four free throws to preserve the Northwest victory.
Seniors Jake Reinders and Kyle Haake also stepped up big on senior day. Reinders grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds while Haake added 14 points in the win.
Reinders and Dillon Starzl combined defensively to limit the league’s leading scorer Thomann to 14 points and only three rebounds.
The Bearcats will likely be the No. 3 seed as official seeding will be released by the league office later Saturday night following the conclusion of the Fort Hays State-Emporia State game.
More information on the next week’s MIAA Tournament will be available later this weekend on northwestbearcats.com.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
email@example.com | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
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