Northwest Missouri held off a second half charge by regional host Minnnesota State-Mankato to win 71-66 and earn a slot in the regional championship. NWMSU hit 25 free throws and got 23 points from their bench as they set up an All-MIAA championship game in the NCAA Division II Central Regional.
For the Bearcats DeShaun Cooper led the way with 25 points and four assists. Zach Schneider hit four three-pointers and pulled down three rebounds on hits way to 13 points. Dillon Starzl added nine points and five rebounds while Bryston Williams had a team-high six boards.
Northwest Missouri will face off with Central Missouri at 7 p.m. on March 18 from Mankato, Minn. On the line will be a berth in the Elite Eight which begins on March 26 in Evansville, Ind.
Central Missouri scored 29 points off of turnover as they defeated Missouri Southern 94-84 to advance in the NCAA Division II Central Regional. UCM shot .526 from the field as they earned a spot in the regional championship game in Mankato, Minn.
For the Mules Dillon Deck led the way with 21 points and five rebounds on the afternoon. TJ White was 10 of 11 from the line as he scored 18 points and pulled down five boards while Charles Hammork scored 17 points and added six rebounds. Jordan Epps had 14 points and Daylen Robinson scored 13 points and dished out six assists.
For the Lions Marquis Addison led the way scoring 28 points and pulling down five rebounds. Jordan Talbert had a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Slim Magee had 10 points and Lane Barlow finished with nine points.