Northwest men’s basketball had quite the game in a 100-66 win over NAIA program Midland Dec. 1 at Bearcat Arena.
The No. 2 Bearcats (8-0) had no trouble finding their way to victory. Northwest had four athletes record double-digit scoring performances. Freshman Trevor Hudgins and sophomore Ryan Hawkins had 19 points, senior Joey Witthus had 18, and freshman Diego Bernard had 11.
Hudgins also recorded 10 assists in the game. It was the second double-double of his career.
“It feels great,” Hudgins said. “I felt that we came out playing really good. Had a lot of energy. Played for each other. Just trying to make each other better on the court. We got the dub out of it.”
Northwest made 62.3 percent of its shots in the game. In the progress, coach Ben McCollum inserted some of the program’s younger bench members into the mix.
It is something Northwest has focussed on doing through its first few games of the year.
“All of the kids that come in and play really really well,” McCollum said. “It’s allowed some of our starters to get a little bit of a break but maintain a rhythm.”
For much of the game, players who have not seen many minutes this season had the chance to play alongside some of the team’s starters. The most notable was true-freshman Xavier Rhodes.
Rhodes, a graduate of Rockhurst High School, played for a career-high 20 minutes. Entering the day, he had 21 minutes, 18 coming in a 93-43 win over Tabor College Nov. 23.
Rhodes did not shoot the ball much in the game, finishing the day two-for-five. He was primarily slotted in the point guard position and recorded one assist and two steals
“I think defensively he’s come a long way,” McCollum said. “He’s starting to understand the physicality of the game.”
Other names from the bench who recorded significant minutes include sophomore Daric Laing. Junior Tyler Dougherty and senior Dray Starzl also saw play time.
“We’re a younger group,” Hawkins said. “We’ve had that time to play together like previous years have. We’re definitely figuring it out.”
The game began on a sloppy note right after the tip. Midland (4-7) threw shots up three times before they were able to make the first bucket. In the process, the Warriors recorded two offensive rebounds.
Midland’s only lead of the game didn’t last long, as Northwest responded. Things never really turned around from there in the first half, as Northwest led 52-27 at halftime.
“I thought our energy was good right out of the gate,” McCollum said. “I thought our effort, we executed offensively. I didn’t think defensive rebounding was great tonight.”
The Bearcats continued to run away in the second half, outscoring Midland 49-38.
Northwest hosts Lincoln (4-2) Dec. 6 in Bearcat Arena to open up MIAA play for the Bearcats.