MIAMI — The rematch wasn’t even close.
When Northeastern A&M and Murray State College squared off in Tishomingo on Jan. 20, the Aggies escaped with a 69-67 victory.
But when the two squared off at the NEO Field House on Thursday, Feb. 21, the Golden Norsemen rolled to an 88-74 Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference victory.
“We let up, but put the heel right back on the throat again,” Norse coach Jeremy Jackson said. “It was too many 3s, but we didn’t give up many 2s. That’s our MO: we make people take tough 2s and they couldn’t make them tonight.”
The 10th-ranked Aggies connected on 15 of 34 shots from outside the arc, but were only 24 of 69 combined (39%).
The win puts Northeastern A&M in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference driver’s seat with 13-1 record.
Murray slipped to 13-2; it’s only other league loss to Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa.
NEO (21-6) has won 27 of its last 30 wins in the conference.
The Norse, who won the regular season in 2018-2019 with a 14-2 record, have two games remaining before heading into the Region 2 tournament next month.
They close out the home portion of the schedule Monday night against Western then bring the curtain down on the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 27 on the road against Eastern State College.
“That loss stung us at their place,” Jackson said. “They are a good team and can do a lot of damage. We know we are a really good team as well.
NEO, used a 13-0 run to led by as many as 21 points (59-38) with 12:21 remaining after Nikita Konstantynovski scored from inside.
At the half, it was only 34-25.
The Golden Norse broke out to 6-0 and 15-3 leads before the Aggies (21-5) got rolling.
“We’ve just got out come out with that energy all the time. We didn’t have that energy at their place,” Jackson said.
Rudi Williams had a career best 35 points, shooting 57 percent from the field (13 of 23).
His previous best had been 32 against Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College.
“He was unbelievable in that second half; he took the game over,” Jackson said.
The Hamilton, Ontario, sophomore got 24 of his career-best 35 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.
The Norse also got 15 from Samkelo Cele, 12 from Kalil Camara and 10 from Nikita Konstantynovski, who also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jadan Graves added eight points, James Franklin Jr. had seven and Tyren Collins tacked on a free throw.
Shem’mario Stephens came off the bench to score 18 points for Murray State. Cedric Garrett added 16.