The No. 2-seeded Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team got off to a fast start in their Elite Eight win over No. 7-seeded West Liberty University with a 98-77 victory in the Ford Center in Evansville, IN. Northwest (26-2 overall) reached the national semifinals for the third time in program history behind five double-figure scorers.

Senior Ryan Hawkins led the way with 32 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-8 from three-point range. Junior Trevor Hudgins posted 23 points and five assists on the day he was named the NABC NCAA Division II national player of the year. Northwest trailed 12-8 early, but then used runs of 11-0 and 14-4 to pull away in the first half.

Northwest advances to the national semifinals to take on No. 3-seeded Flagler who edged out Truman State Thursday at 8:45 p.m. in the Ford Center.