POTEAU - Seeking to snap a four-game losing streak, Northeastern A&M's Golden Norsemen travel to Poteau tonight at 8 p.m. to begin play in the Eastern Division of the Bi-State Athletic Conference against the Carl Albert State College Vikings in the Mick Thompson Fitness Center.
After dropping an 88-65 decision to No. 1 ranked Redlands College Friday night in El Reno, coach Dustin Grover's Norsemen enter divisional action with a 10-12 season record.
The Golden Norse return home Thursday for an 8 p.m. confrontation with Eastern Oklahoma State College.
Coach Mike St. John's Vikings have struggled to a 6-15 season record following a 112-69 drubbing at the hands of Redlands last Monday in El Reno. While averaging 90.3 points per game on offense, the Vikings are surrendering 82.5 points on defense.
Last season the Vikings failed to qualify for the Region II Tournament after finishing fifth in the Bi-State East with a 1-7 record. Carl Albert posted a 9-20 overall mark.
NEO swept the two-game regular season series last year. The Golden Norsemen received 24 points from Kelvin Sango en route to a 90-78 win over the Vikings in Miami. Shaun King led Carl Albert with 23 total points.
Traveling to Poteau in the next-to-the-last game of the regular season, the Golden Norse took advantage of 27 turnovers by the Vikings to gain a 64-59 victory. Ciscero Gonzaga led NEO with 14 points while Dannie Powell paced Carl Albert with 17 points.
Expected to return to the Golden Norse offense is freshman shooting guard Dominique Gaines (6-3 of Muskogee). Gaines has been sidelined for three games with a bruised shoulder.
Through 18 games, Gaines leads the Norsemen in scoring with an 18.4 average while recording 47 assists, 30 steals and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Joining Gaines in the Golden Norse backcourt at point guard will be sophomore Joe Morgan (5-10 of Miami).
Morgan is averaging 1.1 points with 54 assists and 16 steals.
With five players averaging in double figures, the Vikings are expected to start freshmen Calen Parks (5-10 of Midwest City) and Keyshore Williams (6-3 of Lithonia, Ga.) at guards.
Parks leads Region II with 118 assists while recording 12 steals and averaging 5.8 points per game. Williams is averaging 12.7 points with 48 assists and 17 steals.
Freshmen Tremaine Luellen (6-4 of Memphis, Tenn.) and Reggie Mathis (6-3 of Jenks) will start at forwards for the Golden Norsemen.
Luellen has a 14.8 scoring mark and a 3.8 rebounding average. Mathis is averaging 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Calvin Rayford (6-2 of Memphis, Tenn.) and freshman Oskar Ernsteins (6-4 of Riga, Latvia) play on the perimeter for Carl Albert.
Rayford is scoring 12.7 points per game while grabbing 4.2 rebounds. Ernsteins has a 10.2 scoring mark and a 2.6 rebounding average.
Anchoring the center spot for the Golden Norsemen is freshman Tulio Cobos (6-5 of Los Teques, Venezuela).
Cobos leads the Norse in rebounding with a 9.1 average while scoring 13.8 points per game.
Veteran Anthony Brown (6-8 of Brooklyn, N.Y.) starts in the paint for the Vikings.
Brown leads Carl Albert both in scoring with a 27.2 average and in rebounding with an 8.3 mark.