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March 16, 2019Game | Basketball
(Photo courtesy Todd Weddle, Northwest Missouri State University)
Northwest Missouri State University buzzed through Minnesota State Mankato in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament with a 91-62 win Saturday evening.
The Bearcats (33-0) led by 12 points less than four minutes into the game, and never let the Mavericks within eight points the rest of the way.
Firing on all cylinders, Northwest was ahead by 19 at the break, and the lead grew to as many as 31 points in the second half.
The 'Cats advance to the semifinal round of the NCAA Central Region, and will face Southern Nazarene at 7:30pm Sunday in Bearcat Arena.
Joey Witthus reached a new career-high with 39 points on 12-21 shooting from the field and 11-11 at the free throw line. The senior also grabbed seven rebounds.
Diego Bernard hit the 20-point plateau for the third time this season in the win. The true freshman from St. Joseph, MO scored 20 points on 7-13 shooting, while also pulling in five rebounds.
Point guard Trevor Hudgins orchestrated the Northwest attack scoring 16 points, dishing nine assists, and turning the ball over just one time. Hudgins has 179 assists on the season, and sits just four away from tying Justin Pitts' mark for the single-season high in program history.
The opposite side of the NCAA Central Region bracket features six-seed Missouri Southern facing seven-seed Southeastern Oklahoma. The winner of the matchup will meet the winner of Northwest vs. Southern Nazarene Tuesday at 7pm in the region championship.