Colin McDonough, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
ST. JOSEPH – The No. 1-ranked Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season with defensive lockdown of Minnesota-Crookston on Friday at the Hillyard Tip-Off Classic held at Civic Arena, 60-52.
On an afternoon when the Bearcats struggled to make shots consistently, Northwest relied on its defense to slow down the Golden Eagles. The Bearcats held the Golden Eagles to 33.3 percent shooting from the field, including a chilly 28 percent in the second half. Crookston made only seven second-half field goals.
The Bearcats had made 26 three-pointers and had shot 51.0 percent from three-point range in its opening two wins of the season the previous week at Civic Arena. That all changed this time out at Civic Arena against Crookston. Northwest made only two of 17 three-point shots for 11.8 percent from distance.
Sophomore guard Trevor Hudgins was the lone Bearcat to shoot better than 50 percent on the night as he drained 9-of-13 shots from the field. Hudgins also sank both of Northwest’s made three-pointers in the victory. Hudgins scored a game-high 28 points and tallied a team-best three steals.
Crookston built an 18-10 lead with 9:44 left in the opening half. Northwest responded and tied the game at 18-18 but could not relinquish the lead from the Golden Eagles.
Crookston held a 26-23 in the closing seconds in the first half before Northwest scored the cut the margin to one at the break, 26-25.
The Bearcats used an 18-4 run to take control of the contest. Sophomore Diego Bernard’s one-hand slam capped a 9-0 spurt that gave Northwest a 32-26 lead with 17:06 remaining in the game. Crookston hit 1-of-13 shots from the field in the 18-4 run.
Hudgins posted 17 of his points in the second half. Northwest would lead by as many as 11 points in the final 20 minutes and would go on to score an eight-point win over the Golden Eagles.
Northwest will take on MSU Moorhead Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Hillyard Tip-Off Classic at Civic Arena.
NOTES: Northwest has won 41 consecutive games and its one victory away from tying the MIAA and school record for consecutive wins … Northwest has won 34 straight games on neutral courts … the Bearcats have won 25 straight games in the month of November … Ryan Hawkins tallied his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with :26.4 seconds left in the game … Hawkins also stuffed his stat sheet with five assists, two steals and a blocked shot … Bernard had seven points, eight rebounds and two assists … Tyler Dougherty secured eight rebounds and scored five points to go along with a blocked shot … it was the first meeting between Northwest and Crookston in men’s basketball.