Dec. 29, 2012
Bearcats fight off Eagles for 79-59 win
MARYVILLE, Mo. – It took a total team effort, as the Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball team fought off a gritty Central Methodist squad for a 79-59 win Saturday afternoon in non-conference action from Bearcat Arena.
Northwest improved to 9-2 on the year in the final non-conference game of the season for the Bearcats.
A back-and-forth first half saw five lead changes as it concluded in a 35-35 tie. The first 20 minutes also saw both teams commit double digit turnovers before the Bearcats’ inside presence and the return of a hot shooting Alex Sullivan helped Northwest eventually pull away for the win.
Sullivan knocked down four three-pointers as 15 of his team high 18 points came in the second half.
The Bearcats also outscored Central Methodist 36-13 in the paint and made the most of their opponent’s miscues, scoring 28 points off turnovers compared to the Eagles’ 13 points.
CMU got an outstanding performance from Melvin Tillman who helped keep the Eagles within reach as he knocked down six three-pointers. Tillman would finish with 25 points leading all players.
However, Tillman’s effort would not be enough, as a 15-2 run to start the second half helped pace the Bearcats to their ninth straight win. The win also extend their home court winning streak to eight games as Northwest has now won 22 of their last 23 games inside Bearcat Arena.
Sullivan hit his second three-pointer with 16:50 left in the game to start the run as Tyler Funk followed with a wide-open trey seconds later. Funk was one of three players for the Bearcats to finish in double figures with 10 points while Grant Cozad finished with 13.
From there the Bearcats opened up the lead to double digits when a Matt Wallace steal and behind-the-back-pass to a cutting DeAngelo Hailey gave Northwest a 13 points lead (61-48) with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Wallace narrowly missed a double-double as the sophomore finished with nine points and eight assists in the win.
Northwest would go on to lead by as many as 20 points late in the second half shooting their second highest percentage from the field this season. The Bearcats shot 57 percent from the field in the game (60 percent in the second half) as they locked down on defense holding the Eagles to only 34 percent shooting in the second frame.
The Bearcats return to MIAA action Thursday as they hit the road for six of their next seven games, starting at Missouri Southern. Action from Joplin is slated for 7:30 p.m. as Northwest continues its road swing at Pittsburg State next Saturday in a nationally televised game on CBS Sports Network.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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