WARNER —Connors State avenged an early season loss to Northeastern A&M Thursday night to remain atop the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference standings with a 73-59 victory at Melvin Self Field House.
NEO defeated the Cowboys 77-71 in their conference opener in November77-71 in Miami. Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa defeated Western Oklahoma 96-73 to Thursday to remain tied with the Cowboys for first place at 8-1 in OCAC play.
The 17th-ranked Cowboys improved to 20-2 on the season heading into a road game with Seminole State Monday night. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.
Connors took charge in the nip-and-tuck clash in the final 8:17 of the game when they outscored the Norsemen 20-6 to put away the visitors. The loss drops the Norse to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in OCAC play.
“Our defense was okay in the first half (trailed 33-30) giving up just 33 points in the first half and 26 in the second,” said Cowboys head coach Bill Muse. “The defense was much better the second half. Our defense was better than our offense.
“We were able to get some turnovers and steals in the last 6-7 minutes to break it open.”
The Connors scoring was led by Ra’Shawn Langston’s 21 points as three other Cowboys scored in double figures.
Following Langston in the scoring was Mason Jones with 17, Terrance Jones 11 points and Darius Roy added 10 more.
“Once we got a little bit of rhythm offensively, sometimes unconventional at times, we took charge.
“I think (Darius) Roy played much better the second half to get us going. We just have to be more consistent.”
NEO was led by Valentin Van Putten with 15 points with Kyle Lukasiewicz adding 11 in the loss.
Connors broke a 53-53 deadlock at the 8:17 mark of the second half on a bucket by Langston that spark the Cowboys final assault, along with some tenacious defensive play.
Leading 63-59 with four-minutes remaining, the Cowboys put away the Norsemen by going on a 10-point run and holding NEO scoreless until the clock ran out for the win.
“We played much better at home against them than at their place to avenge the loss,” said Muse. “I was confident we would play better at home.”
Cowboys trailed at the half 33-30 with Langston and Mason Jones leading the scoring attack with eight points each. NEO was led by Van Putten’s 10 points.
CONNORS STATE 73, NORTHEASTERN A&M 59
Northeastern A&M 33 26–59
Connors State 30 43–73
Northeastern A&M (13-8, 4-5)—Van Putten 15, Lukasiewicz 11, Eyck 9, Thorton 7, Moody 7, Morris 6, Johnson 2, Taylor 2.
Connors State (20-2, 8-1)—Langston 21, M. Jones 17, T. Jones 10, Roy 10, Bobb 4, Cockrell 4, Coulter 4, Putnam 2.