SHAWNEE - Northeastern A&M erupted for 60 points in the second half and coasted to a 106-83 victory over Redlands College in the opening round of the men's Region II basketball tournament.
Despite the lopsided margin, there were three ties and four lead changes - all in the first half of play at the Noble Complex on the Oklahoma Baptist University campus.
The Cougars' last lead was 14-12 after Marvin Roberts hit a 3-point goal at the 17:42 mark of the first half.
NEO went on to outscore Redlands 34-22 the rest of the half.
The Norsemen played the final 13:08 of the half without Dominique Gaines, who drew a technical and his third personal foul.
Freshman point guard Lionel Green picked up the slack, getting 15 of his 24 points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Golden Norse led by as many as 27 points in the second half. Coach Dustin Grove emptied the bench with 4:46 left in the game.
"We knew going in they were a talented basketball team, so we just kept pounding the ball down in the paint and it paid off for us," Grover said.
The Norse shot 63 percent from the field, connecting on 40 of 63 shots, including 22 of 34 (65 percent) in the second half.
All five of NEO's starters scored in double figures. Joining Green in double figures were Gaines with 21, Reggie Mathis with 18, Tulio Cobos with 13 and Cicero Gonzaga with 12.
"We need that kind of team effort against Arkansas if we are going to stay alive," Grover said.
The Norsemen battled 14th-ranked Arkansas-Fort Smith Saturday at 6 p.m. in the semifinal round.
The Lions advanced with an 82-46 victory over Western Oklahoma.
Northeastern A&M's women faced Arkansas-Fort Smith Saturday in a 1 p.m. semifinal clash.
The women's final will be Sunday at 2 p.m. with the men's championship at 4 p.m.