(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Despite a big night from junior Ariel Easton, Northwest Missouri State came up short against Missouri Southern in an 80-74 loss Wednesday night. The Bearcats (5-12, 2-8 MIAA) have now lost three games in a row, and five of their last six.
Easton led all scorers with 24 points -- the most she's scored since scoring 29 against William Jewell on November 17th -- and as a team the Bearcats recovered from poor shooting in the first half to hit 57-percent of their shots in the final 20 minutes.
Northwest and Missouri Southern each shot 30-percent from the field or worse in the first half to go into the break tied 29-29. The Lions outscored the 'Cats 51-45 in the second half making more than 60-percent of their shots.
The Lions were able to attack in the paint throughout the second half. Southern's two centers over six-feet tall -- Shonte Clay and Dominique Mosley -- combine for 26 points, and Missouri Southern finished with 28 points in the paint.
Ashleigh Nelson scored 16 points for Northwest on six of 12 shooting.
The Bearcats next game is January 30th at Lindenwood.
Missouri Southern men 78, Northwest 79
(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Senior DeShaun Cooper capped off a career-night with one of the biggest shots of his tenure at Northwest. Trailing by one point inside ten seconds left, Cooper dribbled toward the hoop, stepped back and knocked down the game-winning jump shot with three seconds remaining on the clock. The Bearcat defense held for one more possession to hang on for a 79-78 win.
Cooper finished with a career-high 32 points.
Northwest (13-5, 9-1 MIAA) trailed by ten points at halftime, and were down by 11 with 12:15 left in the second half. The Bearcats clawed back to tie it 69-69 with 4:31 to play.
The win gives the Bearcats a 1 1/2 game lead on the Lions in the MIAA standings.
Dillon Starzl added 17 points and six rebounds. Northwest shot 48-percent from the field, and scored 42 points in the paint.
The Bearcats are off until January 30th when they play at Lindenwood.