WEST PLAINS, Mo. - Despite the hostile environment of the West Plains Civic Center, Northeastern A&M's Golden Norsemen completed a three-game sweep of the Grizzly Classic Saturday night with a thrilling 71-68 victory over host Missouri State University-West Plains.

“It was the most difficult place we've had to play in over the last couple of years,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “Both teams were undefeated and it came down to them taking the last shot.

“Things were so loud, I couldn't even hear the official's whistle,” Grover said. “It began with the opening tipoff and was constant until the final buzzer.”

With the victory the Golden Norsemen are a perfect 5-0 on the season while the West Plains Grizzlies are 4-1 on the year.

Continuing a five-game road trip, the Golden Norse travel to Coffeyville, Kan., Tuesday for a 7 p.m. rematch with the Coffeyville Red Ravens in Nellis Hall.

Coach Jay Herkelman's third-ranked Red Ravens are 3-1 on the season. The Ravens defeated Pratt, Kan., 85-62 Saturday night. Their only loss was a 79-74 setback to the Golden Norse Nov. 6 in Miami.

With time running out in the game at West Plains, the Grizzlies had possession on an out-of-bounds play with two seconds left and trailing by three points.

Sophomore guard Morris Smith caught the inbounds pass near midcourt, turned and shot as the buzzer sounded. The ball bounced off the front of the rim, giving NEO the victory.

From the opening tipoff, neither team could build a substantial lead as it changed hands 14 times in the first 20 minutes.

Seven points each from Reggie Mathis, Dominique Gaines and Tulio Cobos along with four points each by Kenneth Clayton and Brent Leduff and two free throws by Chase Elliott enabled NEO to maintain a precarious 31-29 lead at halftime.

“They are a pretty good basketball team with a lot of depth,” Grover said. “This was a very physical, emotional basketball game that could have gone either way.”

Midway through the second half, Golden Norse starting forward Cicero Gonzaga was ejected for throwing a punch at Grizzly forward Mark Smith.

Much like the first half, the score bounced around like a ping pong ball with neither team taking command.

Mathis paced the Golden Norsemen with 17 points while Cobos scored 16 and Gaines contributed 14.

NEO connected on 23 of 53 (44 percent) from the field, including 3 of 11 from 3-point range. The Norsemen sank 22 of 37 (59 percent) from the free throw line.

Morris Smith led all scorers with 19 points for West Plains while Devon Peltier and Anthony Allison scored 10 points each.

The Grizzlies canned 24 of 62 (39 percent) from the field, including 8 of 24 from the 3-point area, and 12 of 21 (57 percent) at the free throw line.

Cobos grabbed nine rebounds to give NEO a 44-38 advantage on the boards. Morris Smith led the Grizzlies with nine rebounds.

Northeastern A&M 71, Missouri State-West Plains 68

Northeastern A&M (5-0) - Mathis 5-8 5-8 17, Cobos 5-9 6-12 16, Gaines 6-11 1-3 14, Leduff 2-7 4-6 8, Clayton 3-7 2-3 8, Green 2-4 0-1 4, Gonzaga 0-6 2-2 2, Elliott 0-0 2-2 2, Armwood 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-52 22-37 71.

MSU-West Plains (4-1) - Morris Smith 7-13 1-2 19, Peltier 3-9 2-3 10, Allison 4-5 2-4 10, Bjegovic 3-5 0-0 8, Carter 1-8 4-6 6, Sanders 1-8 3-4 5, Mark Smith 1-1 0-1 2, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Young 1-4 0-0 2, Little 1-3 0-0 2, Jackson 1-3 0-1 2, Hurvey 0-0 0-0 0, Fermin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-62 12-21 68.

Halftime - NEO 31, MSU-West Plains 29. 3-point goals - NEO 3-11 (Mathis 2-3, Gaines 1-3, Leduff 0-2, Gonzaga 0-1, Clayton 0-1), MSU-West Plains 8-24 (Morris Smith 4-8, Peltier 2-7, Bjegovic 2-3, Young 0-2, Carter 0-2, Sanders 0-1, Allison 0-1). Rebounds - NEO 44 (Cobos 9), MSU-West Plains 38 (Morris Smith 9). Assists - NEO 6 (Leduff 4), MSU-West Plains 3 (Carter 2). Steals - NEO 8 (Leduff 2, Gonzaga 2, Cobos 2), MSU-West Plains 4 (Carter 2). Blocked shots - NEO none, MSU-West Plains 1 (Little). Turnovers - NEO 15, MSU-West Plains 17. Total fouls - NEO 25, MSU-West Plains 24. Fouled out - none. Technical foul - Gonzaga.