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Jan. 3, 2019MARYVILLE, Mo.
(Photo courtesy Northwest Athletics)
Only nine NCAA Division 2 men's basketball teams enter 2019 with an unblemished record, and one resides in Maryville.
Northwest is off to a 12-0 start for the third consecutive season, but, early on, head coach Ben McCollum wasn't sure if his team would get a fast start again this year.
"We got done with that first scrimmage and I said 'Oh boy, this could be a rough go,'" McCollum said.
But the coaching staff and players sorted things out quickly, and the Bearcats are soaring as the No. 2 team in the NABC poll.
"We just started to figure out how to score, we started to figure out our strengths and weaknesses individually, our freshmen started to figure out what they could do."
From there, the Bearcats took off and haven't looked back ranking second in the nation outscoring opponents by an average of 26.5 points per game.
Northwest opened conference player with a pair of wins in December. Beginning Thursday night in Oklahoma, it is all MIAA play for the rest of the regular season.
Thursday's test pits the Bearcats against the Northeastern State Riverhawks. Northwest has won nine straight against Northeastern, with the last loss coming on March 8, 2000.
The women's game gets underway at 5:30pm Thursday, followed by the men's basketball game at 7:30. The broadcast on KXCV 90.5 and KRNW 88.9 begins at 5:10pm with pregame.