SHAWNEE—In their worst defensive performances of the season, Connors State was ousted in the first round of the Men's Region II Basketball Tournament by Northern Oklahoma-Enid 98-86 at Oklahoma Baptist University Thursday.
The lose completed the Cowboys 2019-20 basketball season at 22-9, while the Jets advance to Friday's semifinals against Northeastern A&M. The Norsemen defeated Eastern Oklahoma State 98-68 in the first game.
The Jets flew past the Cowboys in the first half, 54-39, crushing the Connors defense with a 66.7 percent shooting performance draining 27-of-42 field goal attempts, including 8-of-12 from behind the arc.
"We didn't guard anybody the whole game," said Cowboys Coach Bill Muse. "You can't win giving up 98 points, not defending and rebounding."
The Cowboys could not contain Zach McDermott, who finished with 34 points, including 7-of-8 on three-point attempts. McDermott wasn't alone in double-digit scoring. Jalen Stamps scored 16 points with Josh Perkins and Questyn Luckey adding 14 points each.
The Cowboys trailed by as many as 17 points, 56-39 to open the second half on a bucket by Ikenna Okedke.
However, that's when the Connors offense caught fire. Four treys, three by Jahcoree Ealy, who finished with 26 points leading the Cowboys scoring, and a 3-pointer by Calen Haydon, who finished with 23 points, sliced the Jets margin to six points, 66-61 with 11:30 remaining. But the Cowboys could not get any closer than three points, 75-72 with 2:30 left on a trey by Jordan Graham, who finished with 16 points.
It turnovers by the Cowboys late in the contest and transition
points by the Jets doomed the CSC season.
"We had too many turnovers (13) and they scored 19 points on them," said Muse. "Our defense just completely let us down today.
"We didn't play hard and we weren't prepared. I will take complete responsibility for it," said Muse.
Cowboys shot 52 percent from the field (30-of-57) including 13-of-21 from behind the arc, which normally would be good enough to win.
However, in the end it came down to poor defensive play by the Cowboys, which resulted in the ouster of Connors from the first round of the Region II Tournament since the 1980s.
NORTHERN ENID 98, CONNORS STATE 86
Northern Enid 54 44--98
Connors State 39 47--86
Northern Enid (16-7-14)—McDermott 34, Stamps 16, Perkins 14, Luckey 14, Okeke 9, O'Brien 8, Kendrick 3.
Connors State (22-9)—Ealy 26, Haydon23, Graham 16, Riggs 13, Cain 8.