WARRENSBURG – The No. 3-ranked Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team rolled from the start and recorded an 80-37 victory over the University of Central Missouri Mules Saturday at the UCM Multipurpose Building.
The Bearcats (12-1 overall) won their seventh straight contest this season and picked up the program’s 14th straight road victory. Northwest’s 14-game road winning streak is the longest active road winning streak among NCAA Division II schools. The loss snapped UCM’s four-game win streak and dropped the Mules to 6-9 on the season.
The 43-point win is the second-largest margin of victory for Northwest in the all-time series with Central Missouri. Only a 100-51 Northwest win on Feb. 26, 2002, was a larger margin of victory for the Bearcats against the Mules.
The 37 points scored by Central Missouri is the fewest against Northwest since the Bearcats scored a 42-35 victory in the 1951-52 season.
The Bearcats bolted to a 15-4 lead out of the blocks. Northwest made seven of its first 10 shots from the field, which included a 5-for-5 start from three-point land, in building a 19-8 lead with 13:41 to play in the first half.
A four-point play from senior Ryan Hawkins pushed the lead to 15 at 25-10 with 9:31 to play. The Bearcats capped a 19-2 run on a pair of free throws from Luke Waters that gave Northwest a 38-12 advantage with 4:49 to play.
Northwest led by 30 at intermission, 47-17, on the strength of 15-of-28 (53.6%) shooting from the field. The Bearcats sank 9-of-15 (60%) from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes. UCM shot a chilly 8-of-25 (32%) in the first half, including 1-of-7 (14.3%) from three-point range. Northwest enjoyed a 23-9 lead on the boards at the break, with the Bearcats tallying seven offensive rebounds.
The onslaught continued in the second half and was aided by a six-minute scoreless stretch from the Mules where the Bearcats pushed the lead to 41 at 64-23. Northwest extended the lead to 48 at 76-28 on a three-pointer from freshman Daniel Abreu.
Senior Ryan Hawkins led the scoring attack with 22 points. Junior Trevor Hudgins added 16 points and sophomore Luke Waters tallied 13 points.
Northwest dominated the boards with a 42-15 edge in rebounding.
Northwest shot 26-of-46 (56.5%) from the floor, including 13-of-23 (56.5%) from three-point range. Northwest also drained 15-of-16 (93.8%) of its free throws in the victory.
UCM shot 16-of-50 (32%) from the field and was a dismal 2-of-14 (14.3%) from three-point range. The Mules went 3-of-7 at the free throw line.
Central Missouri owns a 128-98 lead in the all-time series, but Northwest has won 12 of the last 13 meetings.
Northwest returns to the court Tuesday in Joplin, Missouri, against the Missouri Southern Lions. Tip is set for approximately 7:30 p.m., following the women’s contest