Photo: Northwest Missouri State Athletics

The Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team cruised past Minnesota State 91-62, as they avenged last year’s first round upset and advanced to the second round. The Bearcats lost in the NCAA Division II March Madness last year against the Mavericks when MSU upset the No. 1 seeded Bearcats, 60-50.

Northwest jumped to an early 12-point lead in the first five minutes of the game and never looked back.  Joey Witthus lead the Bearcats in scoring as he finished with a career-high 39 points. It’s the sixth time this season that Witthus scored 30 or more points in a game.

Northwest will take on the No. 5 seed Southern Nazarene, on Sun., March 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Bearcat Arena. The winner of the Northwest-SNU game will take on the winner of the No. 7 Southeastern Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Missouri Southern game in the regional final on Tuesday at 7 p.m.