The Northwest Missouri State men’s basketball team defeated Augustana College, 66-65, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
– Augustana entered the game on a five game win streak and were undefeated on the season in the state of South Dakota.
– The Vikings were the NSIC regular season and conference tournament champions.
– Head coach Ben McCollum now moves to 4-2 in NCAA Tournament games at Northwest.
– Augustana was the region’s top seed and the nations No. 2 ranked team. The Vikings were serving as host for the Central Regional Tournament.
– Northwest moves to 25-6 overall while Augustana e
nds the season at 31-3. The 25 wins is the most in coach McCollum’s career.
Northwest Key Statistics
– Augustana scored the game’s first nine points before Matt Wallace hit Northwest’s first bucket with 15:20 left to play in the first half.
– Only five total personal fouls were called in the first half, three on Augustana and two on Northwest.
– After scoring just three points in the first half, Zach Schneider found the range from long distance, knocking down four long range buckets in the second half to finish the game with 15 points.
– Justin Pitts had a game-high 22 points, going 7-of-14 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. It was his seventh game with 20 or more points.
– Northwest forced 14 Viking turnovers in the game.
– The Bearcats shot just 37.0 percent (10-for-27) in the first half but rebounded with a 53.6 percent (15-of-28) showing in the second half, including a 6-for-15 mark from beyond the arc (40 percent).
– The Vikings were hot all game, shooting 51.1 percent from the field (24-of-47), but were just 6-of-20 from beyond the arc (30 percent).
– Northwest shot just seven free throws in the game, six coming in the closing seconds. Pitts was 6-for-6 and Brett Dougherty hit his foul shot in the first half.
– Augustana outrebounded the Bearcats, 29-26, with each team grabbing nine offensive boards. The Vikings forced 12 Bearcat turnovers.
– Schneider finished with 15 points, hitting 5-of-11 attempts all from beyond the arc. He had three rebounds and two steals.
– Dougherty finished the game with 11 points, his sixth double-digit scoring performance of the season.
– Matt Wallace set a career high with nine rebounds, scoring six points with six assists and three steals.
– Conner Crooker had eight points with five rebounds and two assists. He was 2-of-6 from beyond the arc.
– Northwest and Augustana each had 12 personal fouls and eight steals.
Northwest Key Sequences
– Midway through the first half, the Bearcats fell behind, 23-13 after Augustana knocked down its third three pointer of the half. But Northwest found Crooker for a three and forced a Viking turnover on the next possession. Wallace found Cozad for a jumper to cut the lead to 23-18. After a steal from Zach Schneider, Wallace again found Cozad for a contested jumper to make it 23-20.
– Northwest came out of the locker room down by eight but erased the deficit in an efficient 4 minute and 23 second run which included four three pointers, three coming from Schneider and one from Pitts. After an Augustana free throw, Brett Dougherty gave Northwest its first lead of the game, 43-42, converting a layup.
– After building an eight point lead midway through the second half, Augustana went on a 13-2 run to take a 59-56 lead with 6:15 left in the second half. After a nearly three minute scoring drought by both teams, Dougherty converted a layup with 3:16 left to bring Northwest to within one, 59-58.
– Down by one with just over a minute to play, Crooker created space on a drive and hit a pull up jumper in the lane to give Northwest a 60-59 lead, prompting an Augustana timeout. The Vikings would miss a three pointer on the next possession but got the offensive rebound but again failed to convert as Northwest continued to lead, 60-59, with 39 seconds.
– Justin Pitts hit two free throws with 28 seconds remaining to give Northwest a 62-59 lead. But the Vikings again collected an offensive rebound off a missed three pointer and converted to make the score 62-61 in favor of the Bearcats. Pitts again knocked down a pair of free throws to make the cushion three again, 64-61 with 15 seconds left.
– Augustana’s Spencer Jordan hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to bring the game to within one, 64-63, but Pitts was able to get free and was again fouled. After hitting both free throws, Northwest held a 66-63 lead. Alex Richter collected his sixth rebound on a missed three pointer and scored a layup with one second remaining but Northwest alertly threw the inbounds down the floor and time expired, giving the Bearcats a 66-65 victory.
– Northwest will play MSU-Moorhead in a rematch from the season opener on Tuesday, March 17, at 7 p.m. in the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.