EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Northwest Missouri will seek its second NCAA Division II men’s basketball title in three years as the Bearcats pulled away from St. Anselm for a 76-53 semifinal win Thursday night.
The top-ranked Bearcats take a 37-0 record into Saturday’s 2 p.m. final. Northwest will face the winner of Thursday’s late semifinal between Southern Indiana and Point Loma.
Northwest overcame a sluggish first half. The Bearcats missed their first nine 3-point tries and trailed 27-22 with four minutes left in the half.
But Northwest went on an 8-2 run to end the half and put together a 12-2 run early in the second half to open a double-digit lead. Northwest’s advantage grew to 60-40 when Trevor Hudgins hit a 3 with 5:46 left.
Hudgins led the Bearcats with 27 points, six steals and four assists, while Ryan Hawkins, from Atlantic, Iowa, added 14 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and four blocks. Joey Witthus scored all 13 of his points after halftime.
Northwest forced 15 turnovers and committed just five.