After what happened to the Northwest Missouri State men Wednesday night, it's evident the Bearcats have some real problems to address.
In a matchup of the MIAA's co-leader against a team tied for last place with only two wins on the year, Northwest suffered a head-scratching 70-65 home loss to Lincoln at Bearcat Arena.
The Bearcats dropped to 11-4 overall and 4-2 in the MIAA, losing for the second straight game following four straight league wins.
Lincoln improved to 3-14 overall and 2-5 in the MIAA, ending a streak of seven straight losses this year and 12 in a row to Northwest.
Lincoln led from the 13 minute mark of the first half on, gaining as much as a 12-point advantage in both halves.
Down by eight with 29 seconds left, Northwest refused to go quietly.
A fade-away three by DeAngelo Hailey—his first of the game—made it 68-65 and a turnover by Lincoln with 13.7 seconds left gave the Bearcats the ball back with a chance to tie.
Hailey attempted a game-tying three, but had it blocked by Cedric Ridle.
Greg Motley grabbed the ball and was fouled with 11 seconds left. He made both free throws to put Lincoln up five. Alex Sullivan and Tyler Funk each missed three-point attempts in the final 10 seconds, ending Northwest's comeback bid.
A 60 percent free throw shooting team on the year, Lincoln finished an astounding 19-20 at the foul line and made 14 in a row in the final 1:22.
Had just a few of those rimmed out, the Blue Tigers would've been in trouble.
They otherwise were terrible at closing out the game , turning it over three times and allowing Northwest to score 16 of its 39 second half points in a 1:10 span, mostly on uncontested layups that took very little time off the clock.
Cedric Ridle, the MIAA's second leading scorer, missed the team's only free throw attempt but made 11 others to finish with a game-high 25 points. Motley finished with 17 points, hitting 6-8 shots and 3-5 from three. He had 12 first half points.
The Blue Tigers shot 44 percent for the game and became the second straight team to reach 70 points against Northwest this year. The Bearcats hadn't allowed that many in any of their first 13 games.
Northwest shot 27-55 (.491) from the field, but was only 6-23 (.261) from three and 5-11 (.455) at the foul line.
This makes Northwest 13-52 (.250) over its last two games from the three-point stripe.
Hailey and Sullivan went a combined 4-17 from three and scored nine points apiece. Hailey missed his first eight before making the last one.
Dillon Starzl led the Bearcats in scoring with his second straight 17 point game. He was 8-12 from the field.
Page 2 of 2 - Rarely used redshirt freshman guard Lyle Harris entered the game with three minutes left and made four consecutive shots to finish with 10 points.
Bryston Williams added eight points.
The Bearcats only received eight out of their other two starting spots.
Northwest's largest lead of the game was just three points at 10-7.
Lincoln went in front for good with a three by Motley with 10:54 left in the first half that made it 13-10.
The Blue Tigers extended to as much as a 12-point lead on another Motley three with 3:43 left.
Two free throws by Starzl cut it to five, but two free throws by Ridle and a three by Devin Booker with 18 seconds gave Lincoln a 35-26 halftime lead.
Lincoln went scoreless for the first 5:51 of the second half, but maintained a five-point lead due to the Bearcats offensive struggles of their own.
Once the Blue Tigers got going, they raised their lead back to 12 points as late as 2:43.
Back-to-back Harris layups and a three by Williams brought the Bearcats within four at 62-58.
After a Lincoln turnover, Northwest turned the ball over twice.
Bass and Riddle made four straight free throws to extend Lincoln's lead back to eight.
Northwest quickly made it a three-point game, but never got closer.
The Bearcats begin another three-game road stretch Saturday against Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Okla.