March 11, 2012
Northwest falls late to Ichabods in NCAA first-round
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – A 9-2 run to start the second half for Washburn doomed Northwest Missouri State Saturday night as the Ichabods rallied from an 11 point deficit to seal a 69-60 win in the first-round of the NCAA tournament at D. L. Ligon Coliseum.
Meeting for the third time this season, the fifth-seeded Bearcats (22-7) jumped out of the gate with a 10-1 run to start the contest, converting on four of their first seven attempts from the field. The fourth-seeded Ichabods (25-7) cut the lead to four points with a 12-7 run of their own, making it 17-13 at the 10:20 mark of the opening half.
Washburn, coming off their fifth MIAA tournament title, used an 8-0 run over a 1:21 span late in the first half to make it a tight game at the half, with NWMSU leading 32-28.
Junior DeAngelo Hailey and DeShaun Cooper had seven points each in the first half for the Bearcats, while junior Martin Mitchell and Will McNeill each had seven points to pace the Ichabods first half attack.
“I thought we competed. I thought the first half, we had control. Obviously, we got into some foul trouble early which hurt us,” third-year head coach Ben McCollum said. “They made a little run back at us. In the second half, we got a little bit stagnant but I thought we still competed and fought.”
Coming out of the intermission break, Mitchell matched his first half point total during a Washburn 12-2 run in the first four minutes of the second half, giving the Ichabods an eight point lead at 40-32.
Trailing 51-43 with nine minutes to go, the Bearcats tried to come back. With a 6-0 run over a :49 time span, the Bearcats cut the Ichabods to two at 51-49.
“We didn’t really get out to a fast start in the second half and that is kind of when they ran with it,” added senior Jake Reinders. “We couldn’t put out their fire. We got ahead of ourselves and stopped thinking about defense and getting stops. They ran with it.”
The Bearcats would get no closer, as Mitchell took control for the Ichabods, scoring 13 of the final 17 points of the game for Washburn.
Northwest had three players in double-figures. Junior DeShaun Cooper led the scoring column with 16 points, while Reinders netted 12 points and nine rebounds. DeAngelo Hailey also pitched in 10 points in the loss.
Three seniors finish their career at Northwest, Reinders, Kyle Haake and Jake Petersen all having played in over 200 games for the Bearcats.
Washburn was led by McNeill’s 20 points and eight rebounds, while Mitchell and Christian Ulsaker each knocked down 14 points.
Washburn’s bench was critical throughout the game, outscoring the Bearcat reserves 33-18. The Ichabods also held a 29-17 advantage at the free throw line as Northwest shot an uncharacteristic 64 percent from the charity stripe.
- The Bearcats shared the MIAA regular-season crown with Northwest Missouri State and Central Missouri.
- NWM dropped to 58-35 in the 93-game series led by the Icaabods. The teams’ rivalry dates back 72 years to 1940.
- The Bearcats are 95-50 (.655) over the past five seasons when current head coach Ben McCollum has been head coach (since 2009-10) or assistant to Steve Tappmeyer. The team went from 10th in the MIAA in 2010-11 to the shared title this year.
- Northwest Missouri is ranked 21st in the NABC/DII poll – two places behind Washburn at No. 19. This is the 12th meeting of the schools since 2007-08, and Washburn holds the upper hand 8-4.
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