MIAMI — Five players scored in double figures Wednesday night to lead the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen to a 90-63 victory over the Central Baptist College Mustangs of Conway, Arkansas, in the NEO Field House.
“I just glad we got the ‘toilet paper throw’ out of the way to get the pomp and circumstance involved over with,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “We have a very, very young group and we couldn’t sustain what we really wanted to throughout the whole game.
“Because of that, as a coaching staff, we’re still not sure what lineups play well together because of some of the ups and downs,” Grover said. “Offensively, we could see that we shoot the ball well and we have some strength inside.
“We’re excited about the fact that we have a lot of pieces that will fit together,” Grover said. “But, we’re going to have to get better at taking care of the basketball and we’re going to have to get better as coaches in figuring out which players play better together.”
NEO (1-0) will get a real opportunity over the weekend in the Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College Classic.
The Golden Norse open the classic at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, in the historic Sports Arena against the junior varsity of Tabor University from Hillsboro, Kansas.
Ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA preseason poll, the Hutchinson Blue Dragons (1-0) face North Lake College of Irving, Texas, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Blue Dragons host the Norsemen at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4.
“After playing another junior varsity on Friday, it will be really good for us to have a very difficult challenge against Hutchinson,” Grover said. “They finished 35-2 last year and have a very talented roster coming back.”
Against an outmanned Central Baptist team, the Golden Norsemen opened up a 10-3 margin in the first five minutes.
NEO went on an 18-5 run over the next five minutes to construct a 28-8 cushion. Freshman guard Kyle Lukasiewicz sank two 3-pointers and Cedric Ward added a trey as NEO constructed a 41-13 advantage with 8:21 until halftime.
Both Kyle and Cedric played a well-rounded game,” Grover said. “They both made some mistakes, but that’s going to happen to freshmen in the first few games.
Another freshman, 6-11 center Yuri Sena da Silva, came off the bench and scored six points as the Golden Norse carried a 56-30 lead to the locker room at intermission.
“Yuri played a whole lot better in the game than he has in practice,” Grover said. “He has a very, very high potential to be very good.”
Utilizing all 12 players in various combinations in the second half, the Norsemen received seven points from veteran guard David Thornton, six from Valentin Van Putten and four each from Jeremiah Morris and Lukasiewicz to hold the Mustangs at bay.
Ward paced the Golden Norse with 14 points while Ravel Moody contributed 13, Thornton 11, Morris 11 and Lukasiewicz 10. Yuri Sena da Silva tallied eight, followed by Alex Taylor with seven, Van Putten and Dylan Van Eyck six each and TuJuan Johnson four.
T.J. Collins led the Mustangs with 14 points while D.J. Walker and Brian Johnson contributed 13 each.