No. 12 Northwest Missouri State held on to its undefeated record and avoided a mammoth collapse with a 73-66 overtime win over Lindenwood in the MIAA opener for both teams Wednesday at Bearcat Arena.
The Bearcats were up as many as 18 points in the second half, but Lindenwood stormed back to tie it at 60 and force overtime.
Northwest scored the first six points of the overtime period and led throughout.
Bryston Williams made four straight free throws in the final 19 seconds to ensure victory.
Never behind at any point, the Bearcats improved to 7-0 on the year and 1-0 in the MIAA.
Senior guards Alex Sullivan and DeAngelo Hailey shared the team lead in scoring with 18 points. They were a combined 13-25 from the field and 7-13 from three.
Dillon Starzl finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Point guard Matt Wallace added 11 points.
The Bearcats shot just over 41 percent for the game and were 9-17 from three. In 45 minutes of action, they held Lindenwood (4-2) nearly 20 points below their season scoring average.
Lindenwood's Alex Bazzell, the MIAA's fourth leading scorer, had a game-high total of 21 points. Cody Sorenson finished with 16 points. Richie Thompson was also in double-figures with 12.
The Lions hit just 37.5 percent of their shots, but connected on 44 percent in the second half and were 6-11 from three.
Northwest held Lindenwood to just six points in the opening 11 minutes and grabbed a 10-point lead with 8:16 left in the half.
The Bearcat lead got up to as many as 12 with 3:10 left on a three-ball by Hailey. Lindenwood scored the next seven points and went to the half trailing 31-24.
Northwest used a 12-3 second half run to gain its biggest lead of 18 points with 14:03 left.
Northwest scored just three points over the next nine minutes, allowing Lindenwood to pull within seven at the 5:23 mark.
A layup by Starzl with 3:45 left to make it 59-49 would be Northwest's last field goal of regulation.
Lindenwood tied it up at 60 with 12 seconds left on two free throws by Bazzell, and Thompson blocked a game-winning layup attempt by Sullivan at the buzzer.