The Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team defended its No. 1 national ranking on Thursday with a 72-41 victory over the Lindenwood Lions at Hyland Arena.

Northwest (22-0 overall, 12-0 MIAA) used hot shooting (57.4 percent) and stifling defense by limiting Lindenwood to 30.4 percent from the floor. Lindenwood falls to 11-13 overall and 4-8 in the MIAA.

Northwest scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed. The Bearcats shot a sizzling 60 percent from the field in the first half on 15-of-25 shooting.  Senior Joey Witthus scored a game-high 18 points. Witthus was 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range.

Their 22-0 record is the third-best start in school history. Two years ago they started 24-0 winning the national championship.  In 1930, they went 31-0. Northwest is the only D-I, II or III men’s basketball program that is undefeated.