The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

January 10, 2013

NOC Enid splits against Eastern

WILBURTON — Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s women held Eastern Oklahoma to five points in the final 10 minutes to beat the Lady Mountaineers 54-41 and gain a share of the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference lead.

In the men’s game, the Mountaineers held off a Jets comeback 85-76. NOC Enid (13-4) dropped out of a share of the OCAC lead at 3-2. Eastern raised its record to 11-5 and 4-1.

The Lady Jets raised their record to 12-5 overall and 4-1 in conference. The Lady Mountaineers dropped to 11-5 and 4-1.

“It felt pretty good,’’ said NOC Enid coach Scott Morris. “If they had beaten us, they would have gotten some separation between us. I’m glad we knotted things up.’’

The 54 points was NOC Enid’s lowest scoring output of the season. Marisha Wallace, the Lady Jets’ leading scorer, was held under double figures for the first time this season with nine points after being in foul trouble most of the game.

It was the second time this season NOC Enid had held an opponent to under 45 points.

“Just about every posession was a grind,’’ Morris said. “Every basket was contested. It was a very physical game with a high intensity.’’

The game was tied at 36-36 midway through the second half. The Lady Jets took the lead with a 6-0 run. A field goal by Taylor Lewis with six minutes remaining cut the lead to 42-38, but Eastern didn’t score from the field the rest of the night.

“Honestly, it appeared they got tired,’’ Morris said. “Their shots were beginning to fall short. They were pressing full court and they lost a little bit of energy in full court.’’

Rylie Swanson was the lone Lady Jet in double figures with 10 points. Chelsea Bates had nine points.

“I assure you we didn’t do anything spectacular,’’ Morris said. “It was a good experience to play against a good, physical team that pressures us like they did. We’ll take that experience and build on that.’’

Morris estimated Wallace played only around 10 minutes because of foul problems.

Enid’s Rani Melvin did a good job off the bench handling the ball, Morris said. Melvin hit a big three during the late run.

EASTERN 85, NOC ENID 76 (M)

The Jets, down 62-40 with a little more than 14 minutes remaining, cut the Mountaineers lead to four points twice (75-71 and 77-73), only to see Eastern come up with the plays at the end.

Ryan Devers connected on a trey with 1:18 left on a third-shot opportunity to put the final dagger into the Jets at 82-74. Devers hit two free throws with a minute left to give Eastern a 10-point lead.

The Mountaineers had jumped off to a 10-0 lead and led 44-36 at halftime. They outscored the Jets 20-6 in the first six minutes of the half.

Devers had 23 points to pace the Mountaineers, while Rodnerius Lewis added 17.

Dalen Qualls led the Jets with 18 points, followed by Jeremy Espinoza with 16.

The NOC Enid cagers visit Western Monday.

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