, Muskogee, OK


January 21, 2014

No wait necessary: Connors State’s Bill Muse wins 500th on first attempt

TISHOMINGO – It was ugly, but it was a win for Connors State in overtime.

The Cowboys had to go overtime to escape with a 77-71 victory over Murray State at Beames Field House Monday night to give Cowboys coach Bill Muse his 500th career win at the Warner school.

In the end, it was a bizarre game as Murray State finished regulation play with just four players and at the final buzzer just three players for the Aggies remained on the floor.

Murray State had four players foul out in the contest.

Muse’s record at Connors State stands 500-200 for a winning percentage of 71 percent. He is winningest coach in Connors history and only the second Oklahoma junior college coach to reach the 500 mark. Mick Weiberg, who coached at Northern-Oklahoma Tonkawa before retiring, posted a 562-386 mark in 30 years.

“This one will be memorable for me, because I have never been in a game in all the years of coaching 700 basketball games that we have played 5 on 4, must less on 5 on 3 before,” said Muse. “You have to give Murray credit for hanging in there and trying different stuff even to take us to overtime.”

The Cowboys, who are now 16-2 for the season and 7-1 in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference play, return home to battle Carl Albert State College at 8 p.m. Thursday. The loss drops Murray State to 3-16 on the year and 3-4 in league play.

Connors placed four players in double-digit scoring with Quan Jones leading the attack with 19 points followed by Devante Robinson’s 18, Willie Atwood’s 15 and Terrance Carroll’s 12.

It was Murray’s deadly outside shooting that brought Murray back from a 13-point halftime deficit to deadlock the game at 62-62 on a running 3-point shot by Mario Fleurima at the buzzer.

In the overtime period, the Cowboys drained 7 of 8 free-throws attempts to secure the victory. Atwood and Jones drained four free throws to get the win.

Trailing 13-2 to open the game, the Cowboys scored 11 unanswered points to tie the game at 13-13 with 12:20 left in the first half.

“We have to get our first-half play in order,” said Muse. “If we don’t, we are going to struggle every game. We just had to many turnovers.”

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