NSU basketball teams prepare for final home games
TNE Editor

NSU basketball teams prepare for final home games

Published 2/22/18

Jesse Crittenden

TNE Writer

It is the final stretch of the season for the RiverHawks basketball teams, as they conclude their regular season with two home games this week.

They will matchup with Emporia State on Thursday, Feb. 22, and then finish their season with a matchup against Washburn on Saturday, Feb. 24. This is how both teams shape up as they head into their final two games.

Women’s team

Despite a seven-game losing streak, the women’s basketball team is in good shape.

With a little help from a couple of teams last weekend, the RiverHawks have clinched a spot in the MIAA postseason tournament with a 5-12 conference record and 9-15 overall record.

To qualify for the postseason, a team must finish in the top 12 of the 14 MIAA teams. As of Saturday, Feb. 17, the RiverHawks currently sit at No. 12.

“We’re disappointed with our ranking, but we’re happy to make the tournament,” said Fala Bullock, NSU women’s basketball head coach. “We have our final two home games to make a late push.”

With victories in the final two games of the season and help from other teams, the RiverHawks could climb to a better spot before the MIAA tournament begins. Lindenwood (6-11) and Southwest Baptist (7-10) sit just above the RiverHawks in the standings and could fall behind the RiverHawks if both teams were to lose their remaining two games.

The RiverHawks lost their first matchup with Emporia State this season 88-66 on Jan. 13. NSU jumped out to a 15-11 lead in the first quarter but struggled as the game continued, as they were outscored by 26 points in the final three quarters. Emporia Sate currently sits at sixth in the conference standings with an 11-6 conference record.

Caitlyn Long, junior forward from Sparta, Mo., led the RiverHawks to a 67-59 win over Washburn earlier in the season with 20 points. Washburn currently sits at seventh in the MIAA standings with a 10-7 record.

Men’s team

These final two games will ultimately decide the season for the RiverHawks men’s basketball team.

After losing both games last week, the RiverHawks are currently on a five-game skid as they sit just one spot outside of the playoffs with a 3-14 conference record. However, Thursday’s matchup with Emporia State will be the difference in their season.

Emporia State currently sits just one spot ahead of the RiverHawks with a 4-13 record. If the RiverHawks take the victory on Thursday, both teams will have a 4-13 record and the RiverHawks will own the tiebreaker. The RiverHawks beat Emporia State on the road earlier this season, 89-87.

“We know how much this game means to our season,” said Mark Downey, NSU men’s basketball head coach. “It’s pretty simple. If we win, we take a giant step toward making the postseason. If we lose, we’re done.”

With a win on Thursday, the RiverHawks would look to clinch their postseason spot in their season finale against Washburn. That will be no small task, as Washburn sits at third in the conference with a 13-4 record. Washburn defeated the RiverHawks earlier this season, 82-70.

“We know what we have to do to win,” said Tanner Mouse, junior guard from Ketchum. “We’re confident we can take care of business.”

The women’s team will tipoff at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, followed by the men’s team at 7:30 p.m. at the NSU Event Center. Saturday’s games on Feb. 24 are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. for the women’s team and 3:30 p.m. for the men’s team at the NSU Event Center.

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