After winning five of six games on the longest road trip of the year, Northeastern A&M’s Golden Norsemen square off against Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Murray State College Thursday at 8 p.m. in the NEO Fieldhouse.
With a four-game winning streak in place, coach Dustin Grover’s Golden Norse return home with a 12-5 season record and a 4-1 mark in the OCAC.
The Norsemen defeated Carl Albert State College, 79-76, Monday in Poteau.
NEO’s last game in its home surroundings was a 69-65 upset over arch-rival Connors State College on Dec. 3. The Golden Norse remain home Monday for an 8 p.m. conference tiff with Eastern State College.
Coach Randy Rutherford’s Murray State Aggies make the trip from Tishomingo with a 9-8 season record and a 3-2 conference mark. The Aggies edged past Seminole State 66-64 on Monday in Tishomingo.
Rutherford is in his first season as coach of the Aggies. He’s well known to Oklahoma State fans because he and Bryant “Big Country” Reeves teamed up to lead OSU to the Final Four in 1995.
Last year the Aggies finished fifth in the Bi-State Athletic Conference Western Division with a 2-8 mark while finishing 7-23 overall.
NEO swept the two-game series last season with the Norsemen escaping with a 73-71 win in Miami before gaining an 84-75 victory in the Aggies Fieldhouse.
Murray State features five sophomores on its nine-man roster. The Aggies are averaging 64.3 points on offense while allowing 65.1 points on defense.
“They have been racked with injuries and have only been suiting up seven guys lately,” Grover said. “They’ll try to slow things way down and run the clock on every possession.”
Veteran shooting guard Phil Martin (6-4 of Staten Island, N.Y.) continues to lead the Golden Norse in scoring with a 23.1 average while grabbing 7.1 rebounds per game. Martin also has 17 assists and 13 steals.
Joining Martin in the Golden Norse backcourt are sophomores Jamell Cormier and Raphael Brown.
Cormier (6-0 of Stillwater) leads NEO with 71 assists and 34 steals while averaging 11.1 points per game.
Brown (6-2 of Kansas City, Mo.) averages 8.9 points with 70 assists and 20 steals.
Freshman Korey Fisher and sophomore Andre Coimbra will start along the baseline for the Golden Norsemen.
Fisher (6-0 of East Orange, N.J.) is scoring 5.5 points per game while averaging 3.3 rebounds per contest.
Coimbra (6-9 of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) leads NEO with an 8.8 rebounding average while scoring 6.4 points per game and recording 32 blocked shots.
“We’ve been getting great production out of our bench and I think that’s where we have a distinct advantage in this game,” Grover said. “Our bench has really come in and given us some quality minutes when we need it.”