TOPEKA, Kansas – The No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcat men’s basketball team overcame a four-point deficit down the stretch and secured a 73-68 road win over the Washburn Ichabods on Saturday at Lee Arena.
Northwest’s victory improves the Bearcats to 15-1 overall and 5-1 in MIAA play, while Washburn falls to 8-6 overall and 3-2 in league action.
Junior Ryan Hawkins put the ‘Cats on his shoulders with a 32-point scoring barrage on only 18 shots from the field. Hawkins was 11-of-18 shooting and was 3-of-7 from three-point range. Hawkins drained seven of his eight free throw attempts. Hawkins also did damage on the defensive end with five steals and four rebounds.
Even with Hawkins’s scoring heroics the Bearcats had to overcome a 62-58 Washburn lead with 5:58 to play. Freshman Luke Waters hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to two with 5:21 to left. Diego Bernard evened the game at 62-62 on a driving layup but missed the ensuing free throw to leave it level.
Washburn’s Jalen Lewis sank three free throws after getting fouled by Northwest’s Trevor Hudgins with 3:57 to play that gave the Ichabods a 65-62 advantage.
Hawkins hit a left-handed layup to trim the lead to one with 3:38. Hawkins then drew a foul and sank two free throws to give the Bearcats the lead they would not relinquish with 2:33 on the clock.
Hudgins buried two free throws with 1:54 to play to put Northwest up 68-65. Bernard made two more at the charity stripe with 47 seconds left to put Northwest up five, 70-65.
After a Bernard turnover, Washburn’s Lewis knocked in a three-pointer with 23 ticks left to cut the Northwest lead to two at 70-68. Hudgins then made three of four at the line to close out the scoring and a Northwest win, 73-68.
Hawkins paced the Bearcats in the opening half with 22 points. Hawkins was 9-of-13 from the field and added three steals on the defensive end. Northwest led 41-35 at the break, despite Washburn shooting 68.4% from the floor (13-of-19 FGs).
Both teams shot better than 50% from the field as Washburn made 56.5% (26-of-46 FGs), while Northwest shot 52.3% (23-of-44).
Northwest’s next action will be at home Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against the Missouri Western Griffons. Northwest has won 25 straight games in Bearcat Arena.
NOTES: It is the 10th straight win for Northwest over Washburn … Hudgins has scored 999 career points … Waters scored 14 points in his second career start … Bernard stuffed his stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals … Hudgins added five assists.
--- Northwest Athletics ---