From Staff reports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The No. 4-seeded Northeastern State men’s basketball team fell 69-65 to No. 5 Northwest Missouri State in the 2013 MIAA Championship quarterfinals Thursday evening inside Municipal Auditorium.
The RiverHawks saw their record drop to 19-8 overall. They tied for third in their first season in the MIAA at 12-6. The Bearcats improved to 20-9 and will face top seed Fort Hays State in the semifinals.
Junior guard Bryton Hobbs paced Northeastern State with 23 points. He played the entire game and shot 9 of 18 from the field. Senior guard Ethan Anderson added 15, sophomore forward Landon DeMasters poured in 13, and senior forward Jermaine Bransford chipped in 10.
Northeastern State shot 41 percent (24-for-58) from the field, 25 percent (5-for-20) from downtown and 75 percent (12-for-16) at the free-throw line.
The Bearcats shot 52 percent (23-for-44) from the field, 50 percent (5-for-10) from distance and 69 percent (18-for-26) at the charity stripe.
NWMSU was paced by Dillon Starzl’s 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Conner Crooker dropped 13 and DeAngelo Hailey added 12. The visitors on the scoreboard outrebounded NSU 36-24.
“I thought their defense bothered us in huge stretches in the game,” NSU coach Larry Gipson said. “They really beat us up inside. Dillon Starzl had a heck of a game.”
Neither team held more than a five-point advantage in the first half, and a Hailey triple with three seconds to play in the opening stanza gave the Bearcats a 39-36 edge at the break.
NWMSU scored the first seven points of the second half to jump out to a 10-point lead, and the team led 57-43 with 12 minutes to play.
A three-point basket from Anderson at 10:34 sparked a 15-5 run from NSU that tied the game at 64-64 with 3:59 to play.
The RiverHawks went cold from the field the rest of the way, and the Bearcats made 5 of 6 free throws late to advance to the next round.
Northeastern State still has an outside shot of qualifying for the 2013 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship, and the selection show will be held at 9:30 p.m. March 10 on NCAA.com.