Two teams coming off strong offensive performances in their season openers collide Tuesday night as the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen entertain the 3rd ranked Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College Red Ravens at 8 p.m. in the NEO Student Activities Center.
Coach Dustin Grover's Golden Norse crushed the Oklahoma Baptist University JV 104-40 Saturday afternoon in the first game of the year at the SAC.
"We're preaching to our kids that nothing they did Saturday proves anything," Grover said. "We have to convince them that against a team the quality of Coffeyville, they'll really have to work to get good shots."
Winners of seven straight Kansas Jayhawk Eastern Division titles and five Region VI crowns, veteran coach Jay Herkelman's Ravens come to Miami with a 1-0 record.
The Ravens had four players score in double figures en route to a 97-70 rout over Butler (Kan.) Community College Saturday night in Coffeyville's Nellis Hall.
Entering his 12th season as head coach of the Red Ravens, Herkelman, a former member of the Golden Norse coaching staff, has won more games than any other men's basketball coach in school history with a 324-91 (.781 winning percentage) overall record.
Over the past six seasons, Herkelman has amassed a 96-12 regular season record against KJCCC eastern division opponents.
Last season he led the Ravens (33-5) to their fifth Region VI Championship in the last six years.
The team went on to win three games in the national tournament and placed third.
"They are a very athletic basketball team," Grover said. "Especially at the 2, 3 and 4 positions. I think they are even better than they were last year."
When the two teams tangled last season, the Ravens won both games.
NEO's last win over Coffeyville was a 69-53 decision here in the fifth game of the 2004-05 season.
Paced by a 19-point performance by Anthony Jackson, the Red Ravens gained a 95-88 victory over the Norsemen in Coffeyville. Tremain Luellen and Dominique Gaines each scored 22 points to lead NEO.
Traveling to Miami, the Red Ravens received 17 points from Brian Kennedy en route to a 71-57 victory. Gaines led all scorers with 22 points for the Golden Norsemen.
"Coffeyville has the ability to score in a matter of minutes," Grover said. "Against Butler the game was relatively close until about the eight-minute mark of the first half and then they began to get separation. They got a lot of points in transition."
Sophomore center Tulio Cobos (6-5 of Los Teques, Venezuela) led the Golden Norsemen against the Bison junior varsity with 19 points. Cobos also contributed three offensive rebounds and two defensive boards.
Transfer Kenneth Clayton, Jr. (6-7 of Houston, Texas) contributed 16 points and five defensive rebounds on the wing position.
"If I saw anything positive against OBU, it was that we were pretty efficient shooting the basketball," Grover said. "But, we're not going to get those kind of looks (10 of 14 from 3-point) against the aggressive Coffeyville defense."
Veteran forward Cicero Gonzaga (6-7 of Santa Luzia, Brazil) made his return to the court after a year off by scoring 15 total points with four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Sophomore shooting guard Delawn Armwood (6-2 of Mount Olive, N.C.) led the Golden Norse with six rebounds while scoring 14 points and recording two assists.
Freshman forward Lionel Green (6-4 of New Orleans, La.) contributed 11 points with five rebounds.
"For us to be successful against Coffeyville, we've got to eliminate easy baskets," Grover said. "We'll have to get two or three guys back once a shot goes up to try and slow down their transition game."
Seven sophomores return to the Red Raven program. Veteran shooting guard Daniel Payne (6-7 of South Bend, Ind.) led Coffeyville with 24 points in the win over the Butler Grizzlies. Payne contributed eight rebounds and three assists.
Veteran point guard J.J. Seymore (5-10 of Atchison, Kan.) scored 21 points and recorded nine assists in the opening game of the season.
Freshman power forward Lenny Daniel (6-7 of Richmond, Va.) added 19 points and nine rebounds.
Another freshman forward Antwone Snead (6-5 of Atlantic City, N.J.) led the Ravens with 10 rebounds while scoring 11 points.
Prior to the men's game, coach Jim Rowland's 18th ranked Lady Norse open the season by hosting the 22nd rated Lady Ravens at 6 p.m.
The Lady Ravens opened the season Saturday evening with a 103-60 drubbing of the Butler Lady Grizzlies.
Tickets at the door at $6 per person and $3 for senior citizens and students. All seats are general admission.