WARNER—How sweet it is for the Connors Cowboys.
The Cowboys avenged an early season loss to Northeastern A&M by dropping the Norsemen 85-78 at Melvin Self Field House in a crucial Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference clash.
Connors now 21-5 overall and 10-3 in league play to pull within one game of Northeastern A&M at 20-6 and 10-2. Both schools have three games remaining in the regular season. The Cowboys will next play Murray State on Jan. 18th in Tishomingo. Tip-off 7:30 p.m.
The Cowboys who placed five players in double figures, led by point-guard Callen Haydon, who scored a career high 25 points, including 11 straight free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory. He finished with 12-of-14 at the stripe. Connors finished 27-of 31 at the free throw line.
"It was sweet revenge, but we can't look ahead," said Coach Bill Muse. "We have three games left and we can't stub our toes. We are going to face NEO in the region tournament. They are an experienced team and they are the same team we played in the championship game last year.
"They are hard to guard. When they play zone you have to hit shots and rebound," said Muse.
Concerning his proficiency at the line, Haydon said "You just have to make them when it counts. I practice them every day. Burke (Putnam) also hit some at the end, so it was a good team win.
"This feels good to get back in the race, but it feels good to beat the No. 1 team in the league. Now we are looking for help down the stretch. We just have to just worry about ourselves," said Haydon.
Muse praised the play of Hayden and Sidberry, who scored 45 of the Cowboys 85 points. "Sidberry was really, really good, and Haydon who sat out eight minutes of the game, finished with 25 points."
Cowboys held a one-point lead at the half, 35-34 and trailed 51-50 with 14:24 left in the game. Isaiah Jones put the Cowboys back on top 52-51 with 13:58 remaining. It was a lead they never relinquished. Their largest margin was nine, 63-54 with 8:20 remaining.
The Norse came no closer than two points 63-61 at the 5:30 mark, when the Cowboys stretched its lead to eight points late in the game.
CONNORS STATE 85, NORTHEASTERN A&M 78
Northeastern A&M 34 44-78
Connors State 35 50--85
· Northeastern A&M (20-6, 10-2)—Cele 19, Williams 14,M Moody 11, Van Eyck 10, Luicasewich 10, Morris 8, VanPatten 4, Benford 2.
Connors State (21-5, 10-3)—Haydon 25, Sidberry 20, Putnam 16, I. Jones 10, T. Jones 10, Riggs 2, Lowe 2.