SHAWNEE — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College opens defense of its men’s Division I Region II title against Seminole State College at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Don Sumner Field House on the campus of St. Gregory’s University.
The single-elimination tournament tipped off Monday with two play-off games among the 10-team field.
Redlands Community College (5-11 and 17-12) hosted Murray State College (4-12 and 7-18) in the Cougars Field House on Monday at El Reno.
The winner faces No. 1 seed Connors State College (13-3 and 23-6) at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the first quarterfinal game at Shawnee.
Western State College (6-10 and 19-11) entertained Arkansas Baptist College (21-8) in the other play-in game at the Cougars Field House in Altus.
The winner plays No. 2 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Enid at 8 p.m. Wednesday to conclude the quarterfinal phase of the tournament.
The Mavericks of Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa tips off at 6 p.m. Wednesday as the No. 3 seed. NOC-Tonkawa (10-6 and 21-9) plays No. 6 seed Eastern State College
The NEO Golden Norsemen enter the quarterfinals as the No. 4 seed after finishing 8-8 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Norse are 16-13 on the regular season.
Seminole’s Trojans received the No. 5 seed in the tournament after placing 8-8 in the conference and 18-9 overall.
After splitting the two games in the regular season, the Golden Norsemen received the higher seed because they outscored the Trojans by a 123-115 margin.
“When we finished the regular season with a 65-47 victory last Thursday over Redlands on our own court, it showed us one thing,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “It showed us that we can go score and that we don’t need much.
“We’re just looking for a couple of guys to step up and give us a consistent performance on the offensive end,” Grover said. “We learned last week that if we hit a couple of shots early, everyone relaxes and we play better as a team.”
Tejohn Jacob scored 12 points in the first half as the Trojans grabbed a 38-25 cushion at halftime en route to a 69-66 win at Seminole. Jason Ford tallied 22 points off the bench for NEO.
The Golden Norsemen erased a 30-16 deficit at intermission during a 57-46 come-from-behind win in Miami. Curhone Baldwin led all scorers with 18 total points for NEO.
“Seminole is a tough matchup for us,” Grover said. “In both games we were in position to win but at their place we just couldn’t get the ball to fall.
“They are a very disciplined basketball team on both ends of the floor,” Grover said. “We’ve got to find a way to keep the ball out of their hands on offense and not let them have two or three looks at the basket.”
Semifinal games start at 1 p.m. Friday with the NOC-Tonkawa-Seminole winner facing the NOC-Enid-and either Western or Arkansas Baptist winner.
Winner of the NEO-Seminole game plays in the 3 p.m. semifinal against the winner of the Connors-Murray State or Redlands game.
The Men’s Division I Region II Championship game starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Last season the Golden Norsemen punched their ticket to the Big Dance following a 72-68 win over Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa in the title game. Gabriel Ferreira earned tournament MVP honors with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Shawn Nottingham scored 20 points to lead the Norsemen to a 68-64 victory over Vincennes, Indiana, in their tournament opener.
Playing Georgia Highlands in the second round, the Golden Norse dropped an 83-69 decision in the second game. Tyler Williams led the Norse with 17 total points.
Under NJCAA rules — as conference champ — Connors receives an automatic bid to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, March 20-25.
If the Cowboys also win the Region II Tournament, the league team with the best winning conference percentage would receive the Region II qualifying berth.