MIAMI — This was one of those “which came first: the chicken or the egg?’
What was more impressive Thursday, Feb. 13 about a 92-83 victory by Northeastern A&M — the stretch run that enabled the Golden Norse to nail down their 19th win or that it completed a regular-season sweep of the Cowboys?
“I really don’t have an answer to that,” NEO coach Jeremy Jackson said. “Bill (Connors coach Bill Muse) is an amazing coach. He’s got his name on a court for a reason. He gets his guys playing well. They play a great system and are never out of a game.”
The Norse led by 12 with 9:56 remaining and saw that melt down to two four minutes later. But they held a 24-17 advantage the rest of the way.
“We have a bunch of freshmen and they are trying their hardest to lock in and win a conference title,” Jackson said. “Tonight showed me that we can do it. That was huge for us.
The Norsemen squeezed out a 76-73 overtime win when the teams met Jan. 13 in Warner — NEO’s first win there since 2014.
“Going down there, that was special,” Jackson said.
NEO travels to El Reno to face Redlands Community College then hosts Murray on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The Aggies improved to 12-0 in OCAC play with a 92-80 victory against Seminole State.
NEO’s lone conference loss was a 69-67 setback at Tishomingo on Jan. 20.
The Norse were up 47-42 at intermission and quickly expanded that to 11 in the first five minutes of the second half.
“It all starts with our defense,” Jackson said. “Our motto is 18 deflections a game. When we can get deflections, we can be dynamic. We are really good in the open floor.”
They only accumulated 11 against the Cowboys, but that was still good enough.
Sophomore point guard Rudi Williams showed why he was the NJCAA’s player of the week for last week, scoring 24 points while doling out 11 assists and grabbing nine rebounds.
“He’s doing it against the best competition in the country,” Jackson said, noting that Williams now is up to 47 offers from four-year schools. Jackson said Memphis and Oregon would have coaches on hand to watch him against Murray State.
“He’s that good,” Jackson said.
Once again, the Norse had four players score in double figures.
In addition to the 21 by Williams, Kalil Camara had 19, James Franklin Jr., 14, and Samkelo Cele kicked in 11.
NEO also picked up nine from Taylor Gonzales, eight from Jaden Graves, four from Nikita Konstantynovski and three from Tyren Collins.
The Norse found the mark on 33 of their 59 shots (56%), including 22-of-35 on 2-pointers (61%).
Connors, which shot 49% from the field, had five reach double figures: Daylon Tanksley, 21; Jahcoree Ealy, 17; Jordan Graham, 16, and Jarquvious Cain and Caleb Riggs, 11 each.