Northwest Missouri State’s success on the court led to a bevy of awards when the MIAA announced its men’s basketball postseason honors on Monday.
The Bearcats had a winner for three of the four awards — highlighted by redshirt freshman Justin Pitts being named to the first-team as well as landing the freshman of the year award.
Matt Wallace landed on the all-defensive team and earned the MIAA’s defensive player of the year award.
Coach Ben McCollum shared coach of the year honors with Pittsburg State’s Kevin Muff, marking the second time McCollum has won the award. The former Bearcat won the same award in 2011-12 as well.
The only award that the Bearcats didn’t land was player of the year, which went to Nebraska-Kearney’s Connor Beranek.
Pitts averaged a team-high 16 points and scored in double figures in 20 of the 23 games he played.
Conner Crooker landed on the second-team, while Grant Cozad and Zach Schneider each were on the honorable mention team.
Crooker, who earned All-MIAA for the second straight year, played a team-high 966 minutes, averaging 35.8 minutes per game. He hit a career-best 66 3-pointers, part of a career-high that featured highs in rebounds, steals, field goals and blocked shots.
Schneider finished second all-time in the Bearcats’ single-season record with 90 3-pointers. The 2013-14 MIAA freshman of the year hit a school-record nine in a win against Central Oklahoma on Jan. 9 and hit at least one from beyond the arc in all 27 games this season. Cozad scored 11.9 points per game — a career-high — while the center grabbed a career-high 113 rebounds.
Wallace had 52 steals this year — an average of 1.9 per game — and had a career-high 105 rebounds and blocked eight shots to earn his defensive notice.
Only one Missouri Western player landed on the All-MIAA team.
Senior guard Cortrez Colbert made on the honorable mention squad after leading the Griffons with 16.1 points per game — seventh in the MIAA.
Colbert picked up the scoring when Ryan Devers left the team and rattled off 18 games with at least 11 points scored for Western. The Midwest City, Okla., native scored 11 or more in 19 of the Griffons’ final 20 regular-season contests.