ENID, Okla. —
Don’t ask NOC Enid women’s coach Scott Morris about his defense in a big 81-76 Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference victory over Murray State Saturday at the Mabee Center.
Ben Berry scored a season-high 32 points as the Jets (19-6, 9-5) handed the Aggies (3-23, 3-10) their eighth straight loss in the men’s game.
The Lady Jets (15-9, 8-6, OCAC) allowed 63 points in the first 25 minutes, but only 13 the second half in moving past the Lady Aggies (11-11, 7-6) for fourth place in the conference.
Murray State was 19 of 31 from the field with five treys in leading 50-49 at halftime, but were only 10 of 32 the second half with only 3-pointer.
“We went from playing poor defense to really outstanding defense the last 15 minutes,’’ Morris said. “That was a great win. It puts us in reach for third (in conference), which is what we’re really striving for.’’
Sophomore Rylie Swanson scored nine of her team’s final 13 points, including an old-fashion three-point play where she followed a miss three by teammate Kori Barrios. That gave the Lady Jets their final five-point margin.
Swanson led NOC Enid with 19 points, followed by Kiara Moore with 18 and Barrios with 17.
“Rylie is a big time player,’’ Morris said. “She has put the team on her back the whole season. That was a huge rebound and putback. It essentially iced the game.’’
The Lady Aggies had slowed Swanson down until the final minutes. Swanson, though, had key baskets at the 4:17 and 3:08 mark after Murray State had cut the lead to two.
“We knew with the game on the line, we had to get her touches,’’ Morris said of Swanson. “In the last five minutes, she did what great players do — step up and finish strong.’’
Murray State had taken a 63-55 lead after a basket by Brittany Treas with 15:18 left. The Lady Aggies, though, went almost six minutes with field goal during a 15-1 NOC Enid run capped by a Swanson follow shot with 9:46 remaining to go up 70-64.
The first half resembled an NBA game.
The Lady Jets trailed by one despite going 17 of 28 from the field. Barrios had all 17 of her points in the first half, including five threes.
Moore, aggressively going to the rim, was four-of-four from the field and four of five from the line. Moore re-injured a knee just before halftime, which slowed her down. She still had six second-half points.
“I don’t think either team played bad defense the first half,’’ Morris said. “Everybody was making their shots. I told them at halftime, this is fun.’’
Morris said the Lady Aggies played a tighter defense on Barrios after intermission.
“She just didn’t get any looks the second half,’’ he said.
Toni Cheadle led Murray State with 17 points.
JETS 79, MURRAY STATE 62
The Jets raced out to a 14-0 lead as the Aggies missed their first 10 shots from the field. Murray State didn’t score until a layup by Wyatt Smith with 11:53 left in the first half.
The Aggies had 15 first-half turnovers.
Berry, on the other hand, had a hot hand going 11 of 15 from the field, including six treys. He had 21 points at halftime.
“They keep feeding it to me,’’ Berry said. “The shots were going in, so I kept shooting. Something clicked tonight and they were dropping.’’
Berry, though, was not entirely satisfied with his effort of the team’s overall intensity. Ja’Wan Smith (12) and Daryck Jones (11) were also in double figures for the Jets.
“It was one of my better games offensively, but not defensively,’’ he said. “Murray is not the best team in the conference. We definitely could have done more. Coach (Greg Shamburg) doesn’t think where we need to be to compete for the regional tournament, and I can’t help but agree with him.’’
Berry said the Jets started to laid off a little after the early spurt.
“Once we got up 14-0, we looked at it as if we got the game won,’’ he said. “We laid back a little and that’s something we can’t do.’’
Clement Bonardo had 19 points to lead the Aggies. He was 0 of 7 from the field in the first half, but was eight of 11 from the field and one of two from the line the second half.
The Jets are tied for second in the conference. They go to league leader Redlands on Monday.