Hawkins, Northwest Missouri St. repeat as D-II champs 80-54

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Ryan Hawkins scored 14 of his 31 points in a back-breaking second-half run as Northwest Missouri State capped a dominating season with an 80-54 defeat of top-seeded West Texas A&M on Saturday, repeating as Division II national champions.

Second seed Northwest Missouri State (28-2), which first won the title in 2017, became the first team to win back-to-back NCAA Division II championships since Cal State Bakersfield in 1993-94.

The repeat championship win was also No. 300 for Bearcats coach Ben Collins.

Hawkins scored his 31 points on 10 of 16 shooting, made 9 of 10 free throws and pulled down 18 rebounds. Wes Dreamer added a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Trevor Hudgins scored 15 points with five assists and Luke Waters scored 13.

Qua Grant led West Texas A&M (19-3) with 20 points but was 7-for-17 shooting, making just 1 of 5 from 3-point range. Joel Murray added 12 points. The Buffs were held to 31% shooting (20 of 64).

Throughout the game, Northwest Missouri State scored in bunches while West Texas A&M was unable to put together any sustained runs. Early on the Bearcats passed inside to the 6-foot-7 Hawkins, taking advantage of the height mismatch with the shorter Buffs. With his back to the basket, Hawkins scored with easy spins to the baseline as West Texas A&M was slow to double-team him.

The Bearcats put West Texas A&M away with a dispiriting 19-2 run over six minutes in the middle of the second half. Hawkins scored seven points in 58 seconds, twice on layups and then buried a 3 off a turnover. He capped the drive with three free throws and a layup to give Northwest Missouri State a 35-point lead with 7:32 remaining.

In their run through the tournament, the Bearcats posted wins of 41, 21, 31 and 26 points in four of their final five wins. Northwest Missouri State set a tournament record outscoring its Elite Eight opponents by 78 points. The previous record of 75 had stood since 1970 (Jefferson).

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up