Turning in a total team effort, the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen earned an 85-77 victory Thursday night in the NEO Fieldhouse over the Connors State Cowboys.

While winning their third straight Bi-State Athletic Conference Eastern Division game out of the first four, coach Dustin Grover’s Norsemen are 16-9 on the season.

The loss dropped coach Bill Muse’s Cowboys to 2-1 in the Bi-State East and 18-7 overall.

Following a six-day layoff the Golden Norsemen start the swing back through the Bi-State East next Thursday with an 8 p.m. rematch against Arkansas-Fort Smith.

“This was a total team effort with everybody contributing something,” Grover said. “Our second team came in and actually played better than our starters in the first half.

“Not only did we do a good job of moving the ball to get open looks on offense, but we really defended well until the final four minutes of the first half,” Grover said. “Our full court pressure kind of scared them a little bit because we didn’t give up very much on the back end.”

Connors actually led the first 10 minutes of the opening half by a slim 15-14 margin on six points by Rekeem Couch and four points by Chris Blake, along with three points by Stephon Weaver and a layup by C.J. Washington.

A 3-point field goal by Jamere King and a layup by Phillipe Martin rallied the Golden Norse to a 19-15 lead with 9:14 until halftime.

Four straight points by Raphael Brown along with three by Chase Elliot and a field goal by Ross Moore increased NEO’s lead to 28-22 with 5:36 before intermission.

Consecutive field goals by Chaz Davis and Thiago Pigatto along with a layup by Brown gave the Norse a 34-26 cushion with 4:07 remaining in the half.

Six points each by Weaver and Justin Butler along with a 3-point field goal by Orlando Brown in the final three minutes rallied the Cowboys to a 42-41 deficit at halftime.

The final lead of the game for Connors at 43-42 came on a field goal by Couch to start the second half.

A 12-point run by the Golden Norsemen over a two minute span produced a 54-43 cushion. Four points by Tony Ross along with 3-pointers by Jamell Cormier and King and a putback by Elliot produced the run.

Pigatto scored on a layup and a free throw along with field goals by Davis and Brown and a solo free throw by Carlos Dos Santos to give NEO a 62-49 advantage with 12:41 left in the game.

Over the next 12 minutes the Golden Norse sank 14 of 22 free throws to stave off any Connors charge.

King and Brown combined for 14 points each to lead the Norsemen in scoring while Elliot added 12 and Martin 10.

The Golden Norse sank 30 of 61, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range, for 49 percent from the field and 20 of 31 for 65 percent from the free throw line.

Weaver led all scorers with 19 total points for the Cowboys while Couch and Butler scored 12 points each.

The Cowboys connected on 29 of 62, including 5 of 10 3-pointers, for 47 percent from the field and 14 of 21 for 67 percent at the free throw line.

Northeastern A&M 85, Connors State 77

Connors (18-7, 2-1) — Weaver 5-16 8-9 19, Couch 4-6 4-7 12, Butler 5-8 0-1 12, O. Brown 4-7 0-0 10, Washington 4-6 1-2 9, Blake 3-10 0-0 6, Jones 2-4 0-0 4, Fontenot 1-2 1-2 3, Wesley 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 29-62 14-21 77.

Northeastern A&M (16-9, 3-1) — King 5-7 0-0 14, R. Brown 7-11 0-0 14, Elliot 3-6 6-11 12, Martin 2-5 6-7 10, Ross 3-9 2-2 8, Pigatto 3-5 1-1 7, Dos Santos 2-8 3-6 7, Cormier 2-6 1-2 6, Davis 2-3 1-2 5, Moore 1-1 0-0 2, Coimbra 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-61 20-31 85.

Halftime — NEO 42, CSC 41. 3-point goals — CSC 5-10 (Butler 2-2, O. Brown 2-4, Weaver 1-2, Wesley 0-1, Blake 0-1), NEO 5-10 (King 4-5, Cormier 1-1, Martin 0-2, Dos Santos 0-2). Rebounds — CSC 37 (Washington 12), NEO 34 (Davis 5). Assists — CSC 10 (Blake 4), NEO 14 (Cormier 4). Steals —  CSC 4 (Blake 2), NEO 7 (Davis 2). Blocked shots — CSC 3 (O. Brown 1, Weaver 1, Butler 1), NEO 2 (Ross 2). Turnovers — CSC 15, NEO 7. Total fouls — CSC 24, NEO 23. Fouled out — Blake. Technical fouls — none.