After digging out from an avalanche of 3-point field goals, Northeastern A&M’s Golden Norsemen suffered a hard fought 72-70 loss in overtime Wednesday night to the Seminole State College Trojans in the NEO Fieldhouse.
While sustaining their third consecutive loss, the Golden Norse are 5-5 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference and 13-9 on the season. Dr. Tom Mills’ Seminole Trojans stand 6-4 in the conference and 12-8 on the year.
Weather permitting, the Golden Norsemen are scheduled to travel to Enid Monday for an 8 p.m. OCAC rematch with the Northern Oklahoma College Jets in the Mabee Center gym.
“I don’t have any answers for this tailspin that we’re in except to say that some of our sophomores aren’t getting the job done,” Grover said. “At this point it’s obviously frustrating, but we’re going to have to figure out a solution to it.”
Originally scheduled for Thursday night, the game was moved up a day because of the winter storm warning most of the state of Oklahoma is under.
As interim athletic director, Grover contacted Mills and both schools agreed by 11 a.m. Wednesday that this was the only day both teams could play.
Consecutive 3-point field goals by Donte Foster and two by Jarrod McDaniel propelled Seminole to a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game.
Another trey by Onaye Sims and layups by McDaniel and Foster increased the Trojan lead to 16-5 at the 11:18 mark of the first half.
Trailing 19-9 at the 9:45 juncture, the Golden Norsemen received field goals by Phil Martin, Tony Ross and two free throws by Andre Coimbra to cut the deficit to 19-15 with 7:33 before intermission.
Seminole answered with 3-pointers by Brett Smith and Elijah Gore, along with two free throws by McDaniel, to widen the lead to 27-15 with 4:42 until half.
“Yeah, they were knocking down 3-pointers, but we weren’t doing anything to contest those shots,” Grover said. “After all, 18 of their 31 first-half points came on 3-pointers. You can’t let them get in a groove like that.”
Five straight free throws by Jamell Cormier and a layup by Martin created a 29-22 deficit for NEO with 1:51 showing on the clock.
Foster scored on a driving layup as the Trojans fashioned a 31-24 lead at halftime.
“We let ourselves get in a whole by not defending,” Grover said. “We did a good job in the second half fighting back, but we had nothing left offensively in overtime.”
During the first 10 minutes of the second half, Seminole maintained a 47-37 lead on 3-pointers by Erv Ezell, Jacobi Isham, Gore and McDaniel along with four points by Foster.
Six consecutive points by Martin along with a 3-pointer by Will Fonseca and a solo free throw by Cormier rallied NEO to a 52-47 deficit with 6:49 left in regulation play.
After the Trojans regained a 10-point (57-47) lead, the Golden Norse received four free throws by Martin, two by Cormier and a layup by Fonseca to trail 57-55 with 2:25 remaining on the clock.
Two free throws by Seminole’s Sims at the 2:02 juncture gave the Trojans a 59-55 margin before NEO tied the score on two free throws by Martin and a breakaway layup off a steal by Cormier with 32 seconds left to create the five-minute overtime.
A pair of free throws by Foster and a putback by Isham broke a 61-61 tie as the Trojans grab the lead for good with 2:37 left in overtime.
McDaniel scored on two layups and Ezell sank two free throws to give Seminole a 72-68 margin with less than a second remaining on the clock.
Cormier scored on a layup at time expired.
Martin and Cormier scored 25 points each to pace the Golden Norse offense.
“Phil and Jamell didn’t have anything left in their gas tank during the overtime,” Grover said. “They both gave us a hard 40 minutes of play and just couldn’t get it going in the extra period.”
Foster paced the Trojans with 16 total points while McDaniel added 15 and Sims scored 10.
Seminole outscored the Golden Norsemen 39-9 from 3-point range while the Norsemen outscored the Trojans 22-14 at the free throw line.