The men’s basketball team opened its 2011-12 season against the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats on Friday night at Swinney Recreation Center. The Roos were unable to halt the Bearcats outstanding offensive shooting and were defeated 66-62 to start the season.
The Roos started out with high energy and were able to attack effectively on the break, as well as to net easy points from the free throw line. On an early play, sophomore guard Nate Rogers was able to drive hard and draw a foul but he came down hard on his wrist which resulted in him missing the rest of the game. Tied at seven, the Bearcats went on a six point run, causing the Roos to use a timeout. When play resumed senior guard Michael Gholston entered into the line-up and proved to be instantly effective on offense, scoring five straight as he knocked down a three from the corner and was also able to draw a foul penalty, knocking down both of his free-throw attempts.
The Bearcats answered with a five-point-run of their own. Coming down the stretch in the first half, the Bearcats nailed two more three pointers to take a hard-fought 36-26 lead into the intermission.
In the first half of play, the Roos had a tough time getting shots to drop, shooting just 24 percent while NWMSU swung the ball around effectively and found open shooters who routinely knocked down the 3-point shot and ended the half with 46.4 percent from the field.
The second half was different for the Roos, as they came out determined to play better. They produced a much better percentage, shooting 40.7 and exerting more energy on defense. Unfortunately for the home team, the Bearcats continued their excellent performance with superb passing combinations leading to open shots which they dually converted. At the beginning of the half, the Roos went on a crucial 10-point run, which was capped off with back-to-back three pointers by guard Reggie Chamberlain to tie the game at 36 with a little more than 15 minutes left to play.
Senior forward Bernard Kamwa battled hard all game, banging bodies against double and triple teams whenever he got his hands on the ball. Kamwa gave the Roos their first lead of the game with 13 minutes left to play. However, the Bearcats pulled away again with a 12-3 run. The Roos were again resilient as they rallied again. Capping off the Roos responsive run, sophomore Trinity Hall chased down his oppenent to get a monster block from behind as the Roos pushed the ball back up to Chamberlain who hit a crucial three to cut the lead to three. The Roos were unable to claw back the lead as the final minutes wound down and the Division II side took the contest 66-22.
On the night, Chamberlain led with a team-high 19 points with the 10 points from Kamwa signaling the only other Roo to who reach double figures.
The Roos will look to avenge this loss as they battle the University of Nebraska Omaha at 7 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 16 at Swinney Recreation Center.