That meeting became reality as fifth-seeded Northwest hosted the twelfth-seeded Griffons Monday in the opening round of the 2013 MIAA Tournament. That ending became reality too, as the Bearcats defeated Western 66-46, ending the Griffons' season and Smith's 25-year career as head coach.
Smith finishes his 38-year career with 618 wins, 448 coming at Western. He is the winningest coach in both MIAA and Missouri Western history. He's captured five MIAA regular season championships, four conference tournament crowns and made 11 total NCAA Division II Tournament appearances.
The Griffons (10-17, 6-12) had split the regular season series with Northwest (19-9, 11-7). The Bearcats took revenge just under two weeks ago in Maryville thanks, in large part, to a stellar three-point shooting effort from guard Alex Sullivan. He picked up right where he left off, matching the school's single-game record yet again with eight three-pointers on his way to a game-high 27 points.
The Bearcats came out strong and stepped on Western early, scoring the first eight points and building a 35-14 lead at the break.
The second half belonged to DeAngelo Hailey, who knocked down five threes of his own while finishing with 21 points.
For Western, Reed Mells and Cedric Clinkscales scored 10 apiece.
Northwest advances to the second round of the MIAA Tournament on Thursday when they'll face fourth-seeded Northeastern State at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.