Playing without injured All-MIAA guard DeShaun Cooper, Northwest Missouri State overcame as much as a nine-point first half deficit to beat Graceland 86-65 in the regular season opener Sunday at Bearcat Arena.
Northwest (1-0) held just a two-point advantage in the first minute of the second half, but blew the game open with a 16-3 run over the next six minutes.
The Bearcat lead stayed in double-digits from the 16:09 mark on and reached as many as 23 on senior Alex Sullivan's seventh three-pointer of a career-best 28-point night.
Sullivan, who was 7-11 from three and 10-17 from the field in 26 minutes off the bench, fell one three-pointer short of tying the school record of eight.
Sullivan finished as Northwest's leading scorer for the second time this year following his previous career-best 19-point effort in an exhibition loss to Missouri.
He was joined in double-figures by guard Bryston Williams (14 points), starting forward Kyle Schlake (13 points) and starting center Dillon Starzl (10 points).
All four of Northwest's double-figure scorers hit over 50 percent of their shots, with Schlake and Starzl going a combined 10-11 down low.
As a team, the Bearcats shot a scolding 33-54 (61.1 percent) from the field and were 10-18 (55.6 percent) from three. These totals more than compensated for a 10-19 (52.6 percent) night at the foul line.
The Bearcats shot 63 percent in the second half and equaled their first half total of 43 points. Northwest also stepped it up on the defensive end, holding Graceland to 26 points on 8-30 (26.7 percent) shooting.
The Yellow Jackets put up 39 first half points on 16-33 (48.5 percent) shooting and matched Northwest from three where they were 5-10.
Jamal Lawson finished as their leading scorer with 13 points. Isiah Miller also hit double-figures with 11 points.
Graceland (2-2) led Northwest for a stretch of over 12 minutes in the first half.
The Jackets extended to a 24-15 lead on a three by Trey Sathoff and were still up six with under seven minutes left.
Northwest scored the next eight points to gain a 29-27 lead.
There two more ties before Northwest went in front for good with six straight points by Sullivan. Another Sullivan three put Northwest up 40-33, and the Bearcats closed the half up 43-39.
Northwest is off until Friday when its opens the Hillyard Classic in St. Joseph against Rockhurst College at 5:30 p.m.
By Staff Report
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Staff Report
Updated Nov. 12, 2012 @ 7:32 pm
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