By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
BROKEN ARROW — Northern Oklahoma College Enid, showing some rust after being idle since playing its last basketball game Dec. 8, defeated Rhema Bible College 81-68 in a non-conference game on Saturday.
The Jets were led in scoring by sophomore Jeremy Espinoza’s 23 points, who also had five offensive rebounds in the win.
“He had a real good game,” said Jets assistant coach Ryan Mahoney. “He used his ability inside to score over and around people. He played pretty well.”
Espinoza was joined in double figures by Dalen Qualls and Connor Brooks with 11 points and Philip Brown with 10.
Kasey Byrd led the Eagles with 15 points.
NOC Enid took the lead early in the contest, building an 11-point advantage by halftime.
But Mahoney said the team showed the effects of having not played in nearly one month.
“It was good to get the win,” he said, “but there certainly was some rust there after not playing for 27 days. Hopefully playing this game today will benefit us before playing Tonkawa.”
The Jets (12-3) entertain their rivals from NOC Tonkawa in an important conference game Monday at the Mabee Center, with the women tipping off at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8.
Mahoney said the Jets will need to display more intensity than they showed Saturday against Rhema, which fell to 2-9 on the season.
“They (Tonkawa) like to play uptempo and transition well,” Mahoney said. “They are a good, tough defensive team.
“We’ll need a better effort Monday night. We will have to set the tone and match their intensity and effort. If you can’t get excited for this game (against Tonkawa), you are not a competitor. But we have guys that love to compete and will be up to the challenge.”