Jan 15, 2020 4:20 PM

Three Bearcats named to Bevo Francis Top 100 watch list

Posted Jan 15, 2020 4:20 PM

Northwest Missouri State University is represented by three players on Small College Basketball's Bevo Francis Top 100 Watch List. The list consists of some of the top players from NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA Division I, NAIA Division II, USCAA and NCCAA.

The Clarence "Bevo" Francis Award is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball. Considerations will be season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements. This is an incredibly prestigious honor, as this award will only be given to one player within Small College Basketball per season.

Forward Ryan Hawkins, a junior from Atlantic, Iowa, is leading the Bearcats and the MIAA in scoring at 23.6 points per game. Hawkins is shooting 56.3% from the field, including 45.0% from three-point range. Hawkins has buried a team-best 45 three-pointers and is 62-of-75 (82.7%) at the free throw line. Hawkins also leads the team in steals with 35. Hawkins poured in 32 points at Washburn (Jan. 11) to surpass the 30-point mark for the third time this season. Hawkins set the Northwest single-game scoring record with 44 points against Southern Nazarene (Nov. 2). Hawkins ranks No. 7 in the nation in total points scored with 377 points through 16 games. Hawkins is one of 13 all-time Bearcats to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. It's the second straight season that Hawkins has been named to the Top 100 Watch List.

Guard Trevor Hudgins, a sophomore from Manhattan, Kansas, is averaging 17.9 points and 6.2 assists per game. He has a 4.09 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks No. 8 in the nation. Hudgins has 90 assists to go against 22 turnovers in 490 minutes of action. Hudgins set a career-high with 13 assists in Northwest's 110-66 win over Central Methodist (Dec. 16). Hudgins has surpassed double figures in assists four times this season. Hudgins has handed out 99 assists, which ranks No. 12 in the nation. On the season, Hudgins is the No. 1-ranked three-point field goal percentage shooter in the MIAA at 51.9%. Hudgins ranks No. 4 in Division II in three-point field goal percentage. Hudgins is shooting 42-of-81 from the arc. Hudgins is shooting 72.2% from three-point range in his last six games by making 26-of-36 from distance. It's also the second straight season that Hudgins has been named to the Top 100 Watch List.

Guard Diego Bernard, a sophomore from St. Joseph, Missouri, is averaging 15.2 points and 7.0 rebounds. He is shooting 47.2% from the field and 80.3% from the free throw line. Bernard ranks second in the MIAA in steals (32) and eighth in points scored (243). Bernard has four 20-point scoring games in 2019-2020. He has scored in double figures in 14 of 16 games this season as Northwest has compiled a mark of 15-1 overall and 5-1 in the MIAA. Bernard compiled back-to-back double-doubles against St. Mary (Nov. 14) with 20 points and 10 rebounds and against William Jewell (Nov. 21) with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

This marks the fifth year of the Bevo Francis Award. Past winners include Dominez Burnett of Davenport University in 2016, Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State University in 2017, Emanuel Terry of Lincoln Memorial University in 2018 and Aston Francis of Wheaton College in 2019.

On Feb. 15, the list will be reduced to the top 50 players. One month later on March 15, the top 25 players will be announced. On April 4, the finalists for this year's award will be announced, followed by the Bevo Francis Award winning being crowned on April 6.

--- Northwest Athletics ---

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Jan 15, 2020 4:20 PM
Missouri State to hire Bobby Petrino as new football coach

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Bobby Petrino, a coach with a track record of on-the-field success and off-the-field embarrassments, will be the next coach at Missouri State.

The Springfield-based university said Wednesday that Petrino, 58, will be introduced at a news conference Thursday. He will replace Dave Steckel, who was fired last week after winning just 13 games in five seasons.

Petrino has a 119-56 record in 14 seasons at Arkansas, Western Kentucky and Louisville. He also spent part of one season coaching the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, where he coached 13 games in 2007 before abruptly resigning.

Petrino was 31-9 at Louisville from 2003-06 and took the Cardinals to the Orange Bowl. He left to coach the Falcons, lasted less than a season and took the job at Arkansas. Petrino was 34-17 in four seasons at Arkansas, leading the school to the Sugar Bowl following the 2010 season and a No. 5 final ranking the following season.

That job ended in 2012 when Petrino was fired after a motorcycle accident exposed an extra-marital affair with an athletic department employee and Petrino's lies to his boss.

He made another comeback, resurfacing at Western Kentucky for the 2013 season. The Hilltoppers were 8-4 in his only season there before Petrino returned to Louisville.

Petrino was 36-26 in his second stint with the Cardinals, but it didn't end well. Louisville was 2-8 and in the midst of a seven-game losing streak when he was fired in 2018 following a 54-23 loss to Syracuse. His exit was expensive — Louisville still owed him $14 million.

Missouri State was just 13-42 under Steckel, who previously served as defensive coordinator for Gary Pinkel at Missouri. The Bears play in the Missouri Valley Conference and are part of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

--- Associated Press ---