The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 9, 2014

Murray crucial for Lady Jets

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s women and men will have two different objectives tonight when they host Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Murray State in a 6 p.m. doubleheader at the Mabee Center.

The Lady Jets (14-9, 7-6) will be looking to avenge a 68-58 loss at Tishomingo Jan. 9 to the Aggies (11-9, 7-4), whom they are chasing for third in the OCAC standings. NOC Tonkawa (7-5) is fourth.

“It’s a big game,’’ said Lady Jets head coach Scott Morris. “It’s crunch time, and that would give us a chance to tie them. They’re looking for separation. We really need to beat Murray and hope for the best after that.’’

The Aggies are led by the 1-2 punch of Tierani Richards, who is averaging 13.9 points per game and Toni Cheadle (12.0).  Ivana Jakubcova, who is averaging 9.4 points per game, had 26 the first meeting.

NOC Enid has a 1-2 punch of its own in Breck Clark (19.6) and Rylie Swanson (15.8). Clark had 15 the first meeting, while Swanson and Tierra Coffey had 10.

The Lady Jets are looking to bounce back from an 81-74 loss to Eastern Oklahoma in their most recent game. It was a contest Morris felt his team let get away.

“We have to continue to clean up our defense,’’ Morris said. “We have made a lot of strides there, but we had a couple of setbacks at Eastern. We have to get those straightened out. Our offensive timing is slowly getting better. We have to get that straightened out as we get closer to the playoffs.’’

Swanson and Clark are getting more help in the scoring department for the Lady Jets. Kiara Moore had a season-high 17 against Eastern. Kori Barrios has had five straight games in double digits.

“Kori is starting to hit some shots and Tierra, as a playmaker, has become a big part of our offense,’’ Morris said.

The NOC Enid men (17-6, 8-5) are riding the momentum of a 99-91 road win at Eastern on Thursday, and have won five of their last six games.

The Jets beat Murray State 77-46 on Jan. 9 behind 15 points from Ja’Wan Smith and 13 from Marquavius Williams.

Murray State (3-20, 3-8) has lost six straight, including a 68-59 decision to NOC Tonkawa on Thursday.

“It’s important that we keep our focus,’’ said Jets head coach Greg Shamburg. “We won pretty easily the last time and that makes it easy to lose focus.’’

The Aggies run a zone defense, so the Jets will need to hit some shots from the outside.

“We just need to come out with a lot of energy and continue to battle and build on what we have done lately,’’ Shamburg said.

Jets assistant coach Drew Bridges said the team “has grown up a lot’’ over the last month as evidenced its comeback win in overcoming a 12-point deficit at Eastern.

“That’s something we might not have done earlier in the year,’’ he  said.

Clement Bonardo leads the Aggie attack, averaging 12.9 points per game.

Ben Berry, who had a season-high 28 points against Eastern, leads the offense with a 16.2 average. He has eight straight games in double digits.

He is followed by Daryck Jones (12.2) and Smith (11.8).

Both games will be broadcast on KCRC (1390 AM).