By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Dalen Qualls scored 17 of his 28 points in the last 7:18 as the Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s men took advantage of a Western breakdown to beat the Pioneers 85-75 in Oklahoma Collegiate Conference basketball action Monday at the Mabee Center.
The NOC Enid women, with only eight available players, had four players in double figures in beating the Lady Pioners 72-45.
The sweep boosted the Jets’ record to 19-8 overall and 9-6 in conference. The Lady Jets are 11-4 and 19-7. Western’s men dropped to 7-8 in conference, the women dropped to 2-13.
“It was a struggle,’’ Qualls said, “but you’ve got to win the ugly games, too. As long as we get the win, that’s all that matters.’’
It couldn’t have gotten much uglier for Western in the last eight minutes in seeing a 64-59 lead fade away.
Thanks to two technical fouls, a goaltending and a foul on a desperation Qualls 3-pointer as the shot clock was going down, the Jets were able to go on a 17-2 spurt to go up 76-66. The Pioneers had four players foul out and committed more than 30 fouls. NOC Enid was 32 of 46 from the line.
Western, which hit nine of its first 10 shots from the field after intermission, hit only one field goal over a nine-minute period, after going up 64-59 with 11:02 left.
“There are some teams if you stay on them long enough, they will start fighting with each other,’’ Qualls said. “As long, as we keep our cool, we’ll be fine.
The game seemed to turn around when the Pioneers’ Stirling Thomas was called for a technical foul with 7:18 remaining.
Qualls hit both free throws to cut the lead to 64-63. It would start a run where he was 9-of-9 from the line, and connected on two 3s and a layup.
“If you can get to the line a little bit if you are struggling with your shot, that always helps,’’ Qualls said. “We have been in these type of games before where we have our backs against the wall. We seem to always play well in those situations.’’
Western’s Jalen Chapman was called for a technical with 3:26 left. Qualls hit both free throws to make it 73-66.
“The two technicals swung the momentum into our favor,’’ said NOC Enid coach Ryan Mahoney. “I want to give a big thank you to our crowd. They were energized and enthusiastic. That’s the best I’ve ever seen it. I think it contributed to Western losing their cool a little bit.’’
Mahoney said the Jets might have worn down the Pioneers down by making them run through screens.
“With as many guys as they had in foul trouble, they had to play a little more tentative,’’ Mahoney said. “You make 32 free throws and you will win a lot of games.
“When we get someone in foul trouble, you have to keep attacking like we did. You can’t settle for jump shots, I have to give a lot of credit to our guys for not letting them back in the game.’’
Qualls was joined in double figures by Connor Brooks with 19, Jeremy Espinoza with 14 and Rex Farmer with 11.
Jedarian Jackson led the Mustangs with a game-high 29 points, followed by Thomas with 16 and Chapman and Dil’Jon Allen-Jordan with 13.
“We just continued to guard them,’’ Qualls said about the Jets’ defensive turnaround in the last 10 minutes. “They started missing shots. That’s all we can do.’’
The first half was as strange as the second half.
NOC Enid jumped out to a 10-0 led,only to see the Mustangs go on a 20-5 run to go up 25-20. The Jets held Western to seven points in the last 6:42 after going to a zone.
“All of them (conference wins) are big this late,’’ Mahoney said.
NOC ENID 72, WESTERN 45 (W)
The Lady Jets used balance scoring to make up for the loss of leading scorer Marisha Wallace, who was ill.
Freshman Rylie Swanson had a season-high 17 points, followed by Shannon Hough with 12 and Chelsea Bates and Christa Beasler with 10.
Paige Eaton sat out the second half with leg aliments.
“We played well,’’ said Lady Jets coach Scott Morris. “I thought we executed our halfcourt offense well and we did a good job defensively.
“I think with Marisha being out, there were more shots to go around. Rylie took charge. Regan Crowl hit some big shots (two 3s), Rani (Melvin) did a good job running the floor. Shannon Hough kept us going early. I’m proud of everyone.’’
Wallace could be back at practice today or she could be out a week.
“We’re going to be smart about this,’’Morris said. “Ultimately, we want to be ready for the regionals.’’
NOC Enid raced out to a 16-5 lead in the first five minutes and didn’t look back. The Lady Jets used a 15-2 run to put the game away after Western closed to within 12, 34-22 late in the half.
“Everyone stepped up tonight,’’ Melvin said. “We had to. There’s not much you can do when you have some sickness. Everyone did their jobs.’’
NOC Enid visits Connors Thursday.
NOC ENID 72, WESTERN 47
WOC 22 25 — 47
NOC 36 36 — 72
Western — M. Nelms 11, Gaddis 9, E. Nelms 7, Johnson 6, Bell 5, Petties 3, Davidson 2, Williams 2, Woods 2.
NOC Enid — Swanson 17, Hough 12, Bates 10, Beasler 10, Crowl 7, Eaton 7, Schumpert 6, Melvin 5.
NOC ENID 85, WESTERN 75
WOC 40 35 — 75
NOC 42 43 — 85
Western — Jackson 29, Thomas 16, Chapman 13, Allen-Jordan 13, Mitchell 2, Patton 2.
NOC Enid — Qualls 28, Brooks 19, Espinoza 14, Farmer 11, Brown 7, Bigum 4, Lewis 2