By Matt Bos, Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. -- (box score) Defending champion Cornerstone (Mich.) was bounced from the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship on day one by eighth-seed Northwest (Wash.), 79-71. It marked the third time overall and the first since 2004 (Northwestern (Iowa)) that the defending champions lost in the first round. The 2012 event is held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks (Mo.).
A 9-2 run early gave Northwest an 11-4 lead, putting the eighth-seeded team in control for the rest of the half. A 10-2 run capped by a Michael Greene basket with 6:34 left in the half made it 27-13 with Cornerstone unable to put a run together before halftime, trailing 39-20 at the intermission.
Northwest looked poised to pull away when they led by a 52-33 margin at the 11:07 mark but the 2011 champs wouldn't go away quietly, getting as close as 76-69 with under a minute left before losing by eight points.
Northwest converted 28-of-57 shots from the field for 49.1 percent and was 9-of-24 from the 3-point arc and they converted 14-of-17 free throws. Cornerstone was 30-of-68 from the field and 9-of-26 on 3-point shots but made just 2-of-6 free throw tries. Cornerstone earned a 36-30 rebounding advantage and had 15 turnovers to 16 for Northwest.
Jordan Call led five Northwest players in double figures with 21 points. Rich Skillman converted for 17 and Ryan Dornik had 11 points off the bench.
Dan Prossehl had 14 points for Cornerstone to go with 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Justin Yoder, Wes Hudson and Jake Plite all had 13 points in the loss.
Northwest advances to the second round to face ninth-seed Northwestern (Iowa) Friday at 4:00 pm. CST. Cornerstone ends the season with a 19-12 mark.