WARNER—Connors State used a tenacious defense and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to remain unbeaten in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference play with an impressive 68-62 victory over Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa Thursday night at Melvin Self Field House.
Connors improves to 11-1 for the year and 2-0 in OCAC play heading into a 3 p.m. Saturday clash with Southern Shreveport at home. NOC-Tonkawa falls to 7-4 for the year and 1-1 in conference action.
"I thought our defense was tremendous tonight, both halves," said Cowboys head coach Bill Muse. "We played excellent the second half, but slipped up the first. But we played really, really solid defense for 40 minutes.
"We didn't give them a lot of good looks."
Cowboys held a 32-29 advantage at the half and stretched it to 11 points 44-33 with 16:12 remaining in the game.
That's when the Mavericks began slicing into the Cowboys lead behind Lamar. The Mavericks trailed by just three points 61-58 at the 5:30 mark of the second half.
Connors, who drained 16-of-23 free throws, connected on 7-of-8 at the line in the final 4:44 to ice the victory.
Tonkawa was held to four points over the same period of time, a field goal and a pair of free throws.
"I thought Putman did a great job defensively," said Muse. "They (Tonkawa) haved two Division I players on the wings that have signed already. Landrum got off to a slow start, but came through in the second half (all of his points came in the final 20 minutes of play).
"I thought we had good team play overall," said Muse.
Trevion Lamar led the Mavericks scoring with 28, with teammate Deon Berrien adding 18.
CONNORS STATE 68, NOC-TONKAWA 62
NOC-TONKAWA 29 33--62
CONNORS STATE 32 36--68
NOC-TONKAWA (7-4, 1-1)—Lamar 28, Berrien 18, Johnson 9, Stone 4, Perry 3.
CONNORS STATE (11-1, 2-0)—Putnam 18, Landrum 18, T. Jones 12, I. Jones 8, Sidberry 6, Haydon 5, Lowe 1.