BETHANY — Solid play inside the paint and defense lifted the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen to a 71-57 victory Monday night over the junior varsity squad from Southwest Christian University in the Pickens-Springer gym.
NEO (6-6) remained on the road Tuesday with a trip to Bartlesville to face the Oklahoma Wesleyan University junior varsity. The OWUJV Eagles entered the contest with a 4-5 on the year. The Eagles suffered a 104-56 loss to the Norsemen on Nov. 14 in the NEO Field House.
Concluding the fall portion of the schedule on Friday, the Norsemen travel to Branson, Missouri for a 7 p.m. rematch with Link Year Prep. The Lions (7-5) opened NEO’s schedule Nov. 2 with a 70-69 upset over the Norsemen in Miami.
The SCU Eagles (1-8) built an early 12-11 lead in the first half over the Golden Norse following 3-point field goals by Tal Ely, Tanner Thorpe and Darius Madkins. Forward Vernon Tipton sank a short jump shot, along with a free throw for a conventional 3-point play, to provide the lead.
Two regular field goals by Arkel Williams and layups by Curhone Baldwin and Jalyn McKoy boosted NEO to a 19-17 cushion with 7:28 left in the first half.
Four points each by Baldwin and McKoy along with driving layups from Kingsley Sam, Xavier Williams and Dante Jefferson allowed the Golden Norse to carry a slim 32-31 lead at intermission.
“We did a great job of getting to the basket on offense in the first half,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “Not only were we scoring with our dribble penetration game, but we got the ball to our big men on a regular basis.”
Pedro Lopes took control in the paint for the Norsemen during the second half. A put-back along with a solo free throw by the 6-8 Lopes along with a 3-pointer by Miller and a short jump shot by Morris Talbert created a 40-35 margin with 12:44 left in the game.
Three consecutive in-close baskets by Lopes and a 3-pointer by Sam increased NEO’s advantage to 52-43 score with 6:03 remaining on the clock.
Vernon Tipton rallied the Eagles with two consecutive layups along with a 3-point field goal by Tanner Thorpe reduced the Eagles deficit to 57-50 with 3:33 left in the contest.
McKoy, Baldwin and Talbert each sank two free throws apiece and Lopes stepped outside and canned a 3-pointer as the Golden Norsemen pulled away to a 64-57 advantage at the 1:48 juncture.
Lopes led all scorers with 23 total points while Baldwin added 13, McKoy 12, Sam seven, Miller and Talbert five each, Williams four and Jefferson two.
Tipton tallied 17 total points to lead the Eagles while Thorpe contributed 12.
The Eagles connected on nine 3-point field goals while the Golden Norse managed only three from 3-point range.
“We seem to still be a little timid about our perimeter shooting,” Grover said. “It’s not like we’re not getting good looks, it’s just that we don’t seem to know when to pull the trigger.”