No. 1 Bearcats overcome halftime deficit to defeat Central Missouri

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MARYVILLE, Missouri – The No. 1-ranked Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team overcame a halftime deficit for only the second time this season and scored a 67-50 win over the visiting University of Central Missouri Mules in Bearcat Arena.

The Bearcats improved to 24-0 and matched the second-best start to a season in program history. Only the 1929-30 Bearcat squad under the direction of then first-year head coach Henry Iba got off to a better start with a perfect 31-0 season. Central Missouri fell to 12-11 overall and 5-9 in MIAA. Northwest has won eight straight games in the series vs. UCM.

Senior Joey Witthus paced the Bearcat offense with 19 points and junior Ryan Welty did damage from deep as he drained five three-pointers in seven attempts to score 15 points.

The Mules led by as many as eight points in the first half when the built a 28-20 lead with 2:19 left on the clock. However, Northwest then used an 18-0 run over the final two minutes of the first half and the opening five minutes of the second half to overtake the visitors and take a 38-30 lead. The Mules closed back to within five points at 44-39 with 9:45 remaining in the game, but another 7-0 spurt by the Bearcats turned it back into a double-digit affair.

The Bearcats will be back in action Saturday against Southwest Baptist. Stay tuned to for the latest game time information for Saturday’s contest because of impending inclement weather. Northwest is scheduled to play Southwest Baptist in a women’s/men’s doubleheader beginning at 1:30 p.m. in Bearcat Arena.

NOTES: Trevor Hudgins was 2-of-2 at the line to extend his consecutive free throws made streak to 33 in a row … Ryan Hawkins ripped down a game-high 12 rebounds and tallied four steals … Northwest extended the nation’s longest active winning streak to 14 in a row … Northwest is 86-5 over the past three seasons … the Bearcats are a perfect 12-0 at home this season and the 12-game home win streak is the fifth-longest active streak in the nation … the Bearcats have won 19 consecutive MIAA contests … in fact, Northwest has won 76 of its last 83 MIAA games, including 40 of its last 41 league games in Bearcat Arena … Northwest was held to a season-low 67 points – its previous low this year was 72 in its season-opening 72-70 overtime victory over Northern State on Nov. 3 … Northwest has won its last 15 games by double figures.

— Northwest Athletics —