By the time the regular season came to a close Saturday night, it was assured that both Northwest Missouri State basketball teams will have to win a first round campus site game in order to reach the MIAA Tournament's main stage in Kansas City.
The Bearcat men could've avoided such a scenario by beating Truman State in the regular season finale, but a 63-56 loss caused them to slip to the No. 5 seed.
They host No. 12 seed Missouri Western tonight at 7 p.m.
Northwest's women ended up as the No. 9 seed after beating No. 25 Truman State 72-65 in their regular season finale. They travel to No. 8 seed Missouri Southern (14-12, 8-10) for a first round game Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
The winner of Northwest/Western matches up with No. 4 seed Northeastern State in the quarterfinals Thursday at 2:15 p.m. in Municipal Auditorium. The Northwest/Southern winner earns a shot at No. 1 seed Washburn Friday at noon.
Northwest's men (18-9, 11-7) split two games with Missouri Western during the regular season, winning the most recent one 59-52 at Bearcat Arena Feb. 23.
This avenged a 71-58 loss to the Griffons back on Jan. 12 in St. Joseph.
Missouri Western (10-16, 6-12) finished the regular season with a 72-58 win over Southwest Baptist Saturday in head coach Tom Smith's final home game.
The Griffons' long-time head coach is set to make his last-ever appearance in Bearcat Arena tonight where his career would end with a loss.
Northwest has won every home game against Western over the last four seasons and is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.
In the previous encounter, Northwest senior guard Alex Sullivan tied a school record with eight three-pointers, and DeAngelo Hailey notched a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Northwest trailed by a point at the half, but grabbed the lead back with 17:41 left and never let go.
The Bearcats finished with a 38-25 edge on the boards and 14-4 on the offensive glass.
Western, which exclusively plays zone, out-shot Northwest from the field by 11 percentage points.
The Griffons only double-figure scorer was forward Cedric Clinkscales with 15 points.
Northwest's women (14-12, 8-10) lost their only regular season meeting to Missouri Southern 64-55 in Joplin way back on Jan. 3.
The Bearcats gave up a six-point second half lead and shot just 31.3 percent from the field and 4-18 from three.
Both teams enter the post-season rematch having won their last three games.
Two of Southern's last three wins were against Central Oklahoma. The other was a road upset of Pittsburg State.
Northwest has not beaten Southern since the 2010-11 season.
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