EL RENO — Looking for some consistency in their offense, Northeastern A&M’s Golden Norsemen travel to El Reno Monday for an 8 p.m. Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference clash with Redlands Community College.
“We just need to find our offensive consistency that we had at the start of the second semester,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “We’ve got to find somebody else besides Phil (Martin) to score points on a regular basis.”
After dropping a 69-63 decision on Wednesday at Western State in Altus, the Golden Norse are 5-3 in the OCAC and 13-7 overall.
NEO returns home Thursday for an 8 p.m. conference contest against Seminole State College.
“I felt like we played real well defensively the other night at Western, we just couldn’t score enough points,” Grover said. “Maybe that part of our game is finally coming around and we might just be in the doldrums right now.”
First-year head coach Yaphett King has guided the Cougars to a 4-4 conference record and a 10-8 season mark. King had been a player for the Cougars when Redlands won back-to-back national championships in 2001 and 2002. The Cougars defeated Carl Albert State 81-73 in overtime last Monday in El Reno.
Last year the Cougars finished winless in 10 games in the Bi-State Athletic Conference Western Division and 9-21 overall. The Golden Norse swept the regular season series with a 102-96 win in Miami and a 77-67 victory at El Reno.
“Right now the shots we’re getting inside aren’t going in the basket with any regularity,” Grover said. “Then, we’re also not getting the ball inside enough.”
Martin (6-4 of Staten Island, N.Y.) ranks eighth in the nation with a 23.4 scoring average for the Norsemen. He is averaging 7.5 rebounds with 14 assists and 13 steals.
“Another aspect that needs changing in our offensive approach is that we’re taking too many shots that aren’t high percentage,” Grover said. “We’ve got to get more movement in our offense and quit standing around to turn our shots into layups.”
Joining Martin in the Golden Norse back court are sophomores Jamell Cormier and Raphael Brown.
Veterans Scott Forrest and Andre Coimbra start down low for the Golden Norse.
Brown (6-2 of Kansas City, Mo.) leads NEO with 93 assists while recording 21 steals and scoring 8.5 points per game.
Cormier (6-0 of Stillwater) leads the Norsemen with 44 steals.Forrest (6-4 of Atco, N.J.) averages 9.4 points while leading NEO in 3-point shooting on 50 of 125 for 40 per cent.
Coimbra (6-9 of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) leads the Norsemen in rebounding with an 8.6 average and 39 blocked shots. He averages 8.5 points per game.
“Even though Redlands has two or three really talented players, they are going to be the least disciplined team we’ll play all year,” Grover said. “They play very emotional and animated and play pretty helter-skelter.”
The Cougars feature five sophomores although the starting lineup will feature freshman Blake Allen (6-0 of Tampa, Fla.) at point guard with veterans Kevin Rolland (6-3 of Bristow) and Erik Allen (6-6 of Fort Worth, Texas) in the back court.
Sophomores Marin Zelalja (6-5 of Trogir, Croatia) and Dwayne Davis (6-6 of Philadelphia, Pa.) comprise the Redlands front court.
“We expect them to come out in a zone against us,” Grover said. “That should leave some open space at the top of the free throw line.
“But, we tend to stand around flat footed against the zone and we need to pound the ball inside,” Grover said. “Once we do that, then our perimeter game should open up.”
OCAC men’s standings
Team Conf. Season
W L Pct. W L Pct.
Connors State 6 1 .860 15 2 .882
Northern-Enid 6 2 .750 15 4 .790
NEO 5 3 .625 13 7 .650
Murray State 5 3 .625 10 9 .530
Redlands 4 4 .500 10 8 .660
Seminole State 4 4 .500 10 8 .660
Northern-Tonkawa 3 4 .430 6 13 .316
Western State 3 5 .375 11 7 .611
Carl Albert 3 5 .375 7 11 .390
Eastern State 0 8 .000 0 18 .000