TONKAWA — For the second straight game, the Northeastern A&M men pinned the first loss of the season on an OCAC opponent.
Thursday, Nov. 21, it was Seminole State, and Monday night, they did the same with Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa, gliding to a 76-67 road victory.
“That was a tough road win,” Golden Norse coach Jeremy Jackson said. “They were No. 12 in the country, undefeated and at home. We’re excited about that. We are 2-0, but don't play another conference game until next semester.
“We’re in the driver’s seat; right where we wanted to be.”
The win was the third straight for NEO, which improved to 6-4.
The Mavericks jumped out to a 13-2 lead, but NEO was able to get untracked. It grabbed a 29-22 lead at the half.
“We slowed the tempo down to our speed and we controlled the pace of the game from that point on,” Jackson said.
The Golden Norse had three in double figures topped by Rudi Williams with 19 while James Franklin and Jadan Graves came off the bench to score 15 and 10, respectively.
“They did a good job of taking Samkelo (Cele) out of the game,” Jackson said. “He was averaging double figures and he ended the game with six points. But he also figured out a way to help us in other ways.”
Cele had 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and four steals.
NEO also picked up six from Alvin Cannady III, seven each from Gavin Harris and Kalil Camara, four from Nikita Konstantynovski and two from Mello Williams.
“Our coaches did a good job on scouting their players and trying to take away some of their 3-point shooting ability, which really helped us,” Jackson said. “One of their best players (Demaree King) went 1 for 12 from the 3-point line, which was good.”
Jackson said a tough zone forced King to take NBA-range 3s instead of college-level treys.
“We just pushed him out,” Jackson said.
King still was able to get a game-high 23 points.
Tyrel Morgan added 17 and J.D. Ray chipped in with 12 for the Mavs.
The Norsemen travel to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, for the Three Rivers Thanksgiving Classic.
They open Thursday against Division Southern Arkansas Tech, then play Roane State (Nebraska) Community College and host Three Rivers.
SAU Tech, a second-year program, upset fifth-ranked Chipola (Florida) College 97-87 in the Southwest Mississippi Classic.