#1 Northwest Missouri holds off #22 Missouri Southern to win MIAA tournament championship

The Bearcats beat the Lions 78-76 Sunday.

WATCH: Northwest Missouri tops Missouri Southern 78-76 Sunday night to claim their fifth straight MIAA tournament championship. Cam Martin finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds for MSSU, while Trevor Hudgins scored 31 for the Bearcats.

RELEASE FROM MISSOURI SOUTHERN ATHLETICS:

The 22nd-ranked Missouri Southern men’s basketball team out scored No. 1 Northwest Missouri by ten points in the second half, but the Lions couldn’t complete the comeback and fell 78-76 in a thriller to the Bearcats in the Championship of the 2020 MIAA Basketball Tournament.

Southern (23-8) was led offensively by Cam Martin with 31 points and 11 rebounds, going 12-of-17 from the field. Winston Dessesow had a career-high 23 points, going 9-for-14 from the field, while Elyjah Clark scored 14 points. Clark now has 365 career three pointers, just five from tying the MIAA career record.

Northwest (31-1) wins its fifth-straight Tournament title and the Bearcats were led by 31 points from Trevor Hudgins.

Southern scored the first four points of the game and the Lions led 10-9 after a layup from Martin with 13:30 left in the first half. Northwest answered, however, with a 10-0 run and led 19-10, before a three from Clark stopped the run and made the score 19-13 with ten minutes to go.

A jumper from Dessesow with eight minutes left cut the lead to four (24-20), but a bucket from the Bearcats pushed Northwest out in front by 11 (33-22) with 5:46 left in the half. The Lions got within nine after a basket from Christian Bundy with four minutes left, but Southern trailed 45-33 going into the break.

A bucket from Martin with 14:23 left in the second half got the Lions within seven (48-41), and a pair of freebies from Martin made the score 53-45 with 11:52 on the clock. A bucket from Martin and then a three from Clark cut the lead to seven (63-56) with 7:20 on the clock and a three from Dessesow cut the Northwest lead to four (65-61) with six minutes to go.

A pair of free throws from Clark with 4:21 left cut the Northwest lead to three (67-64), while two freebies from Martin and then a third free throw another trip down tied the game at 67 with three minutes to go. Martin got the Lions within a point two more times at 70-69 and again at 72-71, the latter coming with 1:38 to go, but a layup from the Bearcats put Northwest up 74-71.

A layup from Hudgins gave Northwest a 76-71 lead with 22 seconds left, and despite late points from Dessesow, including a three at the buzzer, the Lions couldn’t compete the comeback.

Martin and Clark were named to the All-Tournament team. The Lions shot 57 percent from the field and out rebounded Northwest 32-23 and the Lions had a 44-38 advantage in the paint.

Southern will find out what seed they will be in the Central Regional as the 2020 NCAA Division II Basketball Selection Show will air at 9:30 pm tonight on www.ncaa.com.

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