EL RENO - Defensive lapses in the last seven minutes caused the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen to drop an 80-75 decision to Redlands Community College Thursday night in Cougar Fieldhouse.
Snapping a five-game winning streak, coach Dustin Grover's Golden Norse are 14-4 on the season and 6-2 against the Bi-State West. Coach Win Case's Cougars are 7-7 on the season and 3-5 against the Bi-State East.
Continuing a two-game road trip, the Golden Norsemen travel to Tishomingo Saturday for a 3 p.m. rematch with Murray State College. The Norse defeated the Aggies 63-59 on Jan. 7 in Miami.
“We just didn't play fundamental defense down the stretch against Redlands,” Grover said. “They killed us on the offensive boards all night.”
During the first 13 minutes of the opening half, the Golden Norsemen built a 30-15 lead on six points each by Dominique Gaines, Reggie Mathis, Tulio Cobos, Lionel Green and Cicero Gonzaga.
The Cougars came roaring back on four points each by Kiwan Smith, Marcus Ashton, Marvin Roberts, Antonie Watson and Kevon Lytch, along with a layup by Nate Flowers, to trail 38-37 at halftime.
Smith, Roberts and Lytch combined for eight points each to rally the Cougars after the Norsemen had built a 63-57 lead with 9:48 left in the game.
“We gave up too many little things that allowed them to complete the come back,” Grover said. “They just kept getting second and third opportunities from offensive rebounds.”
Gaines led all scorers with 21 points for NEO. Cobos added 14 followed by Gonzaga, Mathis and Green with 12 each. Chase Elliott scored four.
Smith paced the Cougars with 20 points while Lytch, Watson and Roberts scored 12 points each and Ashton added 11.