TONKAWA — The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M men take on one of the top teams in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference here Monday night when the Norsemen battle Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa.
“Conceivably they could be the first-or second-best team in the league,” NEO coach Dustin Grover said.
The Mavericks share first place in the OCAC with Connors State.
The two teams kept pace of each other Thursday when Connors lost to the Norsemen 54-51 at the NEO Field House and Tonkawa suffered a 95-94 loss in Altus to Western Oklahoma State College.
That’s the second straight nail-biter loss for the Mavericks, who fell to NOC-Enid 73-71 Monday night.
Northern beat the Norsemen 62-52 in a Dec. 1 in Tonkawa that saw the Mavs trail only once.
“They beat us here (Miami) in a game that was a defensive battle also,” Grover said. “We need to go out on the road and figure out a way to hit shots and hit free throws.”
Curhone Baldwin paced the Norsemen scoring with 13 points while Gabriel Ferreira contributed 10.
Luqman Lundy tallied 22 points to lead all scorers and Reggie Scurry added 15 for Tonkawa.
“We took care of the ball (against Connors State), we just didn’t hit shots and didn’t hit free throws.
The Norsemen shot only 41 percent from the field, downing 21 of 51 shots. They also found the mark on only 10 of 23 free throw chances.
“This is a young team that is still trying to figure itself out offensively,” Grover said. “If we would ever learn to hit shots and free throws, we could be really tough to beat.”
The 51 points yielded by the Norsemen was a season-low output for Connors State which had won 14 straight before hitting skid that has seen it lose three of the past four games.
“To hold them (the Cowboys) to 51 points when they jumped out to an 11-2 lead was a good effort,” Grover said.
CHC threatened to turn the game into a rout with the early 11-2 run. But the Norsemen got to within three in the second half before going on a 12-3 game-turning rally.
The Golden Norsemen improved to 13-9 overall and 5-4 in league play with their fifth win in the past six games.
“We don’t control our own destiny as far as the conference, but we can make it interesting,” Grover said.
The Norse return home Thursday night, hosting Seminole State.