The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats have punched their ticket to the NCAA Division II basketball final.
Justin Pitts scored 30 points on Thursday night as Northwest Missouri beat Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) 79-67 in the semifinals of the national tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Bearcats will face Fairmont State (W.Va.) on Saturday at 3 p.m. for the national championship.
Fairmont State, who was seeded No. 1 for the quarterfinals, beat Bellarmine (Ky.) 79-68 in Thursday’s other semifinal.
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Northwest Missouri, which improved to 34-1 on the season, is the No. 2 seed.
Pitts, the Bearcats’ star point guard, who went to Blue Springs South, missed all five of his three-point attempts on Thursday, but he was 11 for 18 on his two-point shots and 8 for 9 from the free-throw line. He also had four rebounds and six assists.
Senior forward Zach Schneider, who played at Shawnee Mission East made 4 of 6 three-pointers and finished with 13 points.
Northwest Missouri was down 33-32 at halftime but took control with a run late in the game and outscored Lincoln Memorial 47-34 in the second half.