Elijah Allen scored a game-high 24 points to lead Northwest Missouri State to a 62-59 upset of third-ranked Fort Hays State Saturday at Bearcat Arena. It’s the Tigers (17-2, 11-1 MIAA) first loss against a Division II opponent this season and ends the team’s 13-game win streak.
The game featured 15 ties, 20 lead changes and no lead greater than six points. Northwest (10-10, 4-8) earned its first win against a top-10 opponent since November of 2007.
The two teams combined to make four three-pointers, but it was Bryston Williams’ 3 from the corner with 1:13 remaining that gave the Bearcats a 58-57 lead. Willie Hassel hit a 16-foot jumper on the other end to put the Tigers back in front with less than a minute to play. Hassel finished with 10 points.
DeShaun Cooper was fouled driving the lane and sank both free throws to put the Bearcats back in front, 60-59, with 31 seconds remaining.
Fort Hays State guard Dominique Jones missed a mid-range jumper from the baseline, Northwest rebounded and Williams and made two free throws with nine seconds left. Five of Williams’ nine points came in the final two minutes.
Hassell and Orrin Greer each had three-point tries in the closing seconds, but Hassell missed and Greer’s bounced away as time expired.
Fort Hays State held a 40-28 edge on the boards and allowed the Bearcats five offensive rebounds, but shot a season-low 36 percent from the field and was 2-of-16 from three-point range. The Tigers entered Saturday’s game as the second-best three-point shooting team in the nation at 45 percent.
Dijon Smith led Fort Hays State with 17 points, but only two came in the second half. Allen’s 20-point effort was his ninth of the season. He was the only Bearcat who scored in double figures. Allen was 7-of-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Northwest improved to 9-3 at home and remain tied with Emporia State for eighth place in the MIAA standings. Fort Hays State now shares the conference lead with Central Missouri, a 72-61 winner against Pittsburg State Saturday.
Story courtesy of Bearcat athletics.