Top-seeded Northwest Missouri State tipped off the MIAA Men’s Basketball Championships with a bang. The Bearcats left little doubt that they were the best team on the floor easily defeating Missouri Southern 89-56.
Southern played even for more than 10 minutes of the first half. That’s when the Bearcats turned it up a notch and the Lions were unable to respond. Leading by just one with 6:53 to go in the opening half, Northwest outscored Southern 21-7 going into the break with a 39-24 advantage.
The Bearcats came out of the locker room with the same intensity it had to end the first half. They held MSSU without a field goal for the first 7:30 of the second half. The Lions were 0-for-8 and were outscored 20-3 during that stretch. Lions coach Robert Corn decided he’d seen enough. Corn picked up a pair of technical fouls and was ejected from the game just five minutes into the second half.
Conference MVP Hunter Henry led all scorers with 20 points despite shooting just 3-of-9 from the field. He made all 14 of his free throw attempts which tied the tournament record. Reggie Robinson scored 15 and Andy Peterson added 14 for the Bearcats.
Northwest advances to the semifinals against Pittsburg State on Saturday at noon. The Gorillas upset defending champion Southwest Baptist.