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Black Hills State knocked off by D-II powerhouse Northwest Missouri State in national semifinal

Yellow Jackets end historic season with a record of 26-8

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Four Practice
General NCAA basketball
Rick Osentoski / USA Today Sports

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A historic run to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight semifinals by the Black Hills State men’s basketball program met its end at the hands of a D-II powerhouse on Thursday afternoon.

Eighth-seeded BHSU was eliminated from the tournament with a 70-57 defeat to fifth-seeded Northwest Missouri State — a program that has claimed three of the last four D-II national titles dating back to 2017 (tournament canceled in 2020 due to COVID) under coach Ben McCollum — in a national semifinal contest Thursday at the Ford Center.

The Yellow Jackets became one of the final four teams left standing in Division II for the first time in program history on Tuesday after an Elite Eight victory over No. 1 and previously undefeated Nova Southeastern (Fla.) University. However, an appearance in the national title contest was not to be, as BHSU became the second South Dakota program to have its season cut short by the Bearcats (Northwest knocked out Augustana with a 70-56 win in the Central Regional final played on March 15 in Sioux Falls).

It took more than 3 1/2 minutes for either team to see the ball go through the hoop, but once points started flowing, they came in an initial flurry. Both teams converted on three-straight trips down the floor to start the scoring, with the surge coming as part of a 5 for 7 stretch by BHSU which pushed the Yellow Jackets ahead 12-8 early.

BHSU held Northwest’s leading scorer Trevor Hudgins (23.1 points per game) without a point for nearly 12 minutes. But when Hudgins did make it in the scorebook, a free throw tied the game at 17-all during a nearly five-minute Yellow Jacket scoreless drought that saw the Bearcats go on a 7-0 run to take a two-point lead.

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By the end of the first half, the margin reached double figures, as a Wes Dreamer tip-in gave Northwest a 36-26 advantage at the midway point.

The Yellow Jackets twice cut the lead down to as few as four points in the early stages of the second half, but a 10-2 run extended it back out to 53-41 at the under-eight media timeout. From there, the Bearcats pulled away, with the lead ballooning to as large as 21 points.

For BHSU (26-8), Joel Scott led all scorers with 19 points to go alongside a team-high nine rebounds, as Adam Moussa added 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists and Sindou Cisse chipped in nine points and five rebounds. The Yellow Jackets were held to 23 of 58 (39.7%) shooting, including 6 of 24 (25%) from 3-point range.

The Bearcats were paced by Luke Waters’ 17 points, with Diego Bernard posting 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Dreamer recorded an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double, while Hudgins was held to 11 points but dished out six assists.

Northwest (33-5) will play the winner of second-seeded Indiana University of Pennsylvania (33-2) and third-seeded Augusta (Ga.) University (32-3) in the Division II national title game at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

Related Topics: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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