The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 8, 2014

NEO men advance with victory in five overtimes

SHAWNEE, Okla. — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M advanced to the championship game of the NJCAA Region 2 men’s tournament with a 117-115 victory in five overtimes against top-seeded Connors State on Friday.

NEO (21-10) will face either Redlands or Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa for the championship at 4 p.m. today. Connors State’s record fell to 23-7.

While the NEO men won a thriller, the top-seeded and No. 10 ranked Northeastern A&M Norse were upset 96-83 by No. 4 seed Northern Oklahoma-Enid in the semifinals of the Women’s Division 1 Region 2 Tournament at St. Gregory’s University W.P. Wood Field House.

With the loss, coach Jim Rowland’s Norse are 27-4 on the season, while coach Scott Morris’ Lady Jets advance to today’s 2 p.m. regional championship game with a 20-11 record. The Lady Jets face the winner of the No. 2 seed and No. 22 rated Eastern State College Lady Mountaineers (25-5) versus No. 6 seed Carl Albert State College (17-13) game.

“We’re not completely through yet,” Rowland said. “With the expanded format to the NJCAA National Tournament, March 17-23, in Salina, Kan., we could still receive an at-large bid.

“Four region runners-up and four at-large bids awarded by the NJCAA will go to the tournament,” Rowland said. “So, since we finished ranked No. 10 in the nation and only have four losses, there is still a chance we could get an invitation on Sunday.”

During the first half against NOC-Enid, the Norse surrendered 12 offensive rebounds and trailed 26-18 with 12:13 showing on the clock. Over the next 12 minutes the lead changed hands 12 times and the scored was tied 10 before a driving layup by Lady Jets Brek Clark with 13 seconds left gave NOC-Enid a 43-42 lead at intermission.

Another eight lead changes and five ties in the first 16 minutes of the second half produced a 70-70 tie.

Freshman guard Asia McCaskill came off the bench and led the Norse in scoring with 23 points while Jennifer Williams tallied 16. MaKenzie Solberg scored 15 and DeVaughn Gray had 11.

Rylie Swanson led all scorers with 28 points while grabbing 10 rebounds, Clark had 25 points.

Additional details on the Norsemen’s overtime win weren’t available as of press time.

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