SEMINOLE — Unable to completely overcome a 17-point deficit Monday night, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen dropped a 69-66 Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference game to the Seminole State College Trojans in the Raymond C. Harber Field House.
The Golden Norsemen start a three-game conference home stand at 7:30 p.m. Thursday by hosting the Mountaineers of Eastern State College in the NEO Field House.
After cruising past Western State College 116-78 on Monday in Wilburton, the Eastern Mountaineers are 1-1 in the league and 12-3 overall.
Last year the Mountaineers advanced to the second round of the post season Region II Tournament in Shawnee. After defeating Redlands College 91-74, Eastern lost 115-70 to Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa in the second round to finish 9-9 in the OCAC and 17-14 on the year.
With the loss at Seminole the Golden Norse are winless in three OCAC games and 8-8 on the season. The Trojans are 2-1 in the conference and 13-2 on the season.
“We got off to a real slow start on offense at Seminole,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “After about five minutes into the second half, we finally found our perimeter game and began to claw our way back into the game.”
Trailing 67-66 with a minute left on the clock, NEO missed an opportunity to grab the lead as freshman guard Justin Ford had the ball go out of bounds off his foot on the offensive end of the court.
Two free throws by Seminole forward Aaron Givens created a 69-66 Trojan margin at the 0:23 mark.
Sophomore guard Kingsley Sam fired off a 3-point shot for NEO just before the final buzzer, but the ball bounced off the rim to end the game.
Reflective of the slow start the Golden Norsemen fell behind 23-6 in the first 11 minutes of the opening half.
Freshman shooting guard Justin Ford came off the bench and rallied the Norse to a 38-25 deficit at halftime by scoring 9 of his game-high 22 total points.
NEO outscored Seminole by a 41-31 margin in the final 20 minutes only to come up three points short.
Along with Ford’s 22 points the Norsemen received 12 points from Gabriel Ferreria, Tyjuan Johnson 11, Xavier Miller 8, Morris Tolbert 4, Arekel Williams 3, Kingsley Sam 3 and Dante Jefferson 3.
The Golden Norsemen hit 18 of 43, along with 8 of 17 from the 3-point area, for 47 percent from the field and 22 of 38 for 58 percent from the free throw line.