EMPORIA, Kansas – The No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcat men's basketball team pulled away in the second half to post a 71-56 victory over the Emporia State Hornets at White Auditorium.
Northwest moved to 14-1 overall and 4-1 in MIAA play, while Emporia State dropped to 8-5 overall and 2-2 in league play.
Sophomore Trevor Hudgins surpassed the 20-point mark for the fifth straight game and he posted a game-high 28 points. Hudgins was 6-of-15 from the field, 4-of-7 from three-point range and 12-of-13 at the free throw line. Hudgins missed his next to last free throw of the contest and snapped a consecutive made free throw streak at 29 in a row.
Sophomore Diego Bernard notched his fourth 20-point scoring game of the season with 21 points. Bernard connected on a trio of three-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds. Bernard tossed in two steals and two assists.
Northwest built an eight-point first-half lead at 25-17 following a Ryan Hawkins layup with 3:53 to play opening 20 minutes. However, Emporia State responded with an 8-0 run to knot it up at 25-25.
Bearcat sophomore guard Trevor Hudgins continued his torrid three-point shooting by hitting two in the final 2:15 to push the advantage to six at 31-25. Tyler Dougherty sank a free throw to give Northwest a seven-point edge with :36 left in the half. ESU's Keyon Thomas drilled a three-pointer right before the first-half buzzer to cut the Bearcat lead to 32-28 at the break.
The Hornets stung themselves in the second half when Brenden Van Dyke was assessed a technical foul for shoving the ball at Bearcat Ryan Hawkins. In the ensuing discussion about the play ESU head coach Craig Doty also picked up a technical foul. When all was said and done, Hudgins hit four free throws and Hawkins added two to give the Bearcats a 46-39 advantage with 15:03 to play.
ESU's Zac Owens knocked in a triple to cut the Bearcat lead to two at 46-44. But the Bearcats then unleashed a 16-4 run to take a commanding 62-48 lead with 5:16 to play. The capper to the run was an offensive putback by Hawkins.
Northwest will return to action Saturday at 3 p.m. against Washburn in Topeka, Kansas.
NOTES: Northwest has won six straight matchup against Emporia State … Northwest leads the all-time series, 45-23 … Ryan Hawkins collected his 14th career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds … redshirt freshman Luke Waters made his first career start … the Bearcats made 19-of-21 at the free throw line (90.5%).
--- Northwest Athletics ---