MIAMI — Winners of three of their first four games since returning from Christmas break, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen entertain the Northern Oklahoma College-Enid Jets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the NEO Field House.
After earning a 57-46 victory last Monday over Western State College, the Golden Norse (10-8) concludes a three-game home stand with a 2-3 record in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Longtime head coach Greg Shamburg is in his 15th season at the Jets controls. NOC-Enid sits atop the OCAC with a perfect 5-0 record. After upsetting Connors State College 75-70 last Thursday in Enid, the Jets are 12-4 on the season.
“Enid is a very good basketball team,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “Our biggest question going into this game is ‘have our freshmen developed enough to where they can beat a team full of experienced sophomores.
“With the bye last Thursday, we’ve had a week to prepare,” Grover said. “So we’ll see how we respond.”
Last season the Norsemen won two of the three games played between the two programs. After the Golden Norse posted an 84-73 victory in Enid, the Jets earned a 67-56 win in the NEO Field House.
Traveling to Shawnee for the post-season Region II Tournament, NEO began their quest for a regional crown with an 88-69 victory over NOC-Enid in the tournament’s first round. The Jets finished 10-8 in the conference and 19-11 overall
“Our bye week was the first of two built into the regular season by the conference,” Grover said. “It could not have come at a better time because it allowed us to get some practice time in on the court.”
Allowing an average of 46.3 points thus far in the four games played during the month of January, the Golden Norsemen rank fourth in the nation overall by holding the opposition to an average of 54.9 points per game.
“If we keep defending and rebounding like that, then we should be pretty good,” Grover said. “Much like our last two games — Eastern and Western — we did a great job of contesting shots, staying in front of them and forcing them to take tough shots.”
With six returning sophomores, NOC-Enid averages 91.3 points per game on offense while limiting opponents to 75.7 points per game.
Sophomore shooting guard Ty Lazenby (6-5) leads the Jets with a 22.9 scoring average while grabbing 3.9 rebounds per game.
“Lazenby is one of the better guards in the conference,” Grover said. “He is not scary athletic, but he’s an accurate shooter both on the perimeter or driving to the basket.
“Enid is more skilled than athletic,” Grover said. “They like to spread the floor and get the ball in Lazenby’s hands.”
Anchoring the middle of the Jets’ offensive set at center is sophomore transfer Mo Ahmed (7-2). Last year Ahmed played at Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College. Originally from the Sudan, Ahmed graduated from Tulsa’s Bishop Kelley High School.