After limiting Eastern State College to 16 points in the first half, Northeastern A&M's Golden Norsemen staved off a second half rally by the Mountaineers for an 89-67 victory Monday night in the NEO Fieldhouse.
"We did a real good job defensively for about 35 minutes," Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. "When you're up 27 points at halftime (43-16), it's tough to get a team reignited for the second half. Our defense came alive midway through the second half, but they went on an 8-0 run in the final minute against some guys that weren't interested in being on the floor."
With the win, the Norsemen are 13-6 on the season and 5-2 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. The hapless Mountaineers are 0-16 on the season and 0-7 in the OCAC.
NEO travels to Altus Wednesday for an 8 p.m. conference showdown with Western State College.
"All in all, we dominated most of the game with Eastern and there were a lot of areas where we showed some improvement," Grover said. "We did a good job of protecting the basketball and we played really hard the first half."
Eastern's only lead of the game was a 6-4 margin on back-to-back 3-point field goals by Ephraim Kelley and Jurmain McDonald in the first two minutes.
Fueled by six points from Phil Martin and a 3-pointer by Andre Coimbra, along with layups by Raphael Brown and Scott Forrest, the Norsemen constructed a 17-9 lead with 11:20 until halftime.
Brown scored six straight points to ignite a 12-0 Golden Norse run over the next seven minutes to create a 29-11 cushion with 4:50 before intermission. Four points by Jamell Cormier and a field goal by Caarlius Lemon contributed to the run.
A free throw by Andrew Rice and a layup by Willie Hansburg broke an eight-minute scoring drought by the Mountaineers.
Four straight points by Tony Ross and field goals by Brown, Lemon and Will Fonseca enabled NEO to carry a 43-16 advantage to the locker room at intermission.
The Mountaineers received seven points from McDonald and five points each from Mike Soap and Rice to trim the deficit to 51-33 in the first five minutes of the second half.
Two field goals and a solo free throw by Martin, along with four points by Brown and a free throw by Fonseca, produced a 63-37 Norse lead midway through the second 20 minutes.
Over the next four minutes the two teams traded baskets as very little defense was played at either end of the court with NEO holding a 74-53 cushion.
Four points each by Ross and Lemon increased the Golden Norse lead to 84-53 with 2:51 remaining in the game.
Trailing by an 89-59 margin, the Mountaineers received four points from Lydell Calhoun and baskets by McDonald and Soap in the final minute to close out the scoring.
Martin paced the Norsemen with 19 points as 10 of the 13 NEO players scored points. Brown and Brandon Edwards added 13 points each while Lemon contributed 10.
McDonald led Eastern with 16 points along with 15 from Soap and 10 from Rice.