WARNER — Getting their first win at the Melvin Self Gymnasium for the first time since the 2013-2014 season, the Northeastern A&M men claimed a 76-73 overtime win against Connors State College Monday, Feb. 13.
“That’s a hard thing to do. We haven’t done it very often in my time here,” head coach Jeremy Jackson said.
NEO’s last win here was an 89-79 decision on Feb. 10, 2014.
“It’s always a tough place to play,” Jackson said. “The rivalry always has something to do with it. You have guys geared up. We went out there and played hard.
“We had guys diving on the floor for balls. We were coming up with the 50-50 balls. I just loved it. I loved our energy, loved our effort and our growth.”
Connors sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws.
Jackson said the Golden Norse had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed a bucket at the end of regulation with the score tied at 68.
“One thing that I loved was I looked out there a lot of times and we had five freshmen out there on the floor,” Jackson said.
James Franklin Jr. led the Norse scoring with 24 points. Samkelo Cele added 18 and Nikita Konstantynovski chipped in with 12 points.
The 6-10 Ukranian freshman also had 13 rebounds.
Rudi Williams and Kalil Camara finished with eight each while Jadan Graves and Champ Bridges each had three.
“Rudi had one of his worst games as a Norseman, so that was a really big thing to see freshmen step up, guys that aren’t used to doing stuff in that capacity,” Jackson said. “It was great to see our team growing and developing right before our eyes.
Four players scored in double figures for Connors, Caleb Riggs with 23, Daylon Tanksley with 16, Jarquavious Cain with 15 and Isaiah Francis with 14.
NEO improved to 11-5 overall and 4-0 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Murray State improved to 3-0 with an 89-86 win at Seminole State.
That was the first league loss for the Trojans, who share third with Northern-Tonkawa at 3-1.
The loss was the third straight for Connors.
NEO hosts Redlands Thursday night.