ALTUS — Concerned about having any offensive timing after a six-hour bus ride, Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen head coach Dustin Grover will get an answer to that question Thursday as NEO squares off against Western State College at 8 p.m. in the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
"We'll be able to get them emotionally juiced up enough to get down and guard after getting off the bus," Grover said. "But, sitting around for that long throws your offensive timing off, so we'll be concerned about that."
Grover's Golden Norse make the journey to Altus with a 13-6 season record and a 5-2 mark in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Norsemen defeated Eastern State College 89-67 Monday night in the NEO Fieldhouse.
Under the guidance of head coach Rolando De La Barrera, who doubles as the women's head coach, the Western Pioneers are 11-7 on the season and 2-5 in the OCAC. The Pioneers suffered a 71-60 loss to Carl Albert State College last Saturday in Poteau.
Ironically, Carl Albert knocked Western out of the first round of the post-season Region II Tournament last year with a 70-68 win in Shawnee. The Pioneers finished 25-6 on the year and second in the Bi-State west with an 8-2 record.
For the first time in NEO school history last year, the Golden Norse were swept by the Pioneers. Western won 62-52 in Miami before concluding the regular season with a 95-88 victory in Altus.
"Even though they are a quick basketball team, they are younger than we are with eight freshmen," Grover said. "We've just got to play our game."
Sophomore point guard Kevin Terry (6-0 of Brooklyn, N.Y.) is one of three returning sophomores for the Pioneers. Terry leads the team with a 19.8 scoring average and 53 assists and 39 steals.
Veteran shooting guard Ronald Shaw (6-1 of Tulsa) averages 14.5 points with 49 assists and 32 steals.
Sophomore power forward Daniel King (6-8 of the Republic of Panama) has a 10.5 scoring average and a 9.4 rebounding mark.
Pacing the Golden Norse offense is sophomore guard Phil Martin with a 25.4 scoring average. Martin has recorded 42 assists and 31 steals.