MIAA tourney champs (photo/bearcatsports.com)

MIAA tourney champs (photo/bearcatsports.com)

Northwest Missouri won their fifth MIAA Championship in men’s basketball with a 61-53 victory over Nebraska-Kearney.

The two teams would battle back and fourth but NWMSU would emerge in the first ten minutes with a 12-7 advantage. UNK would answer with a 7-3 run to get back in but NWMSU would carry a 32-22 advantage.

The two teams battled back and forth to start the second period and it remained a ten-point game as the clock ticked passed the ten minute mark. The Bearcats would withstand a late run to earn the title.

For the Bearcats Justin Pitts led the way with 20 points dishing out a game high five assists on his way to being named the most outstanding player in the tournament. Zach Schneider had 11 points and Chris Ndow led the way on the glass with seven rebounds.

For the Lopers it was Conner Beranek scoring a game high 31 points and pulling down a game high nine rebounds. Ty Danielson, who joined him on the all-tournament team finished with ten points and five boards.

Northwest Missouri (25-5) earns the MIAA’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division II National Tournament and is a No. 2 seed and will play their first game on March 12th against Ouachita Baptist (19-13) in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The second round will be on Sunday, March 13 and the Sweet 16 round will be on Tuesday, March 15. The National Championship Elite Eight will be held in Frisco, Texas, starting on March 23rd. Northwest has advanced to the Central Region championship game each of the past two seasons.