MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 21, 2014

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


Phoenix wire reports

— 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.”



Women:

Murray St. 67, Connors St. 65


The Connors State Cowgirls’ bid to snap an eight-game losing streak came up short in overtime as Murray State escaped with a win at Beams Field House on Monday.

Connors is now 3-13 for the year and 1-7 in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Murray improves to 10-6 and 6-1 atop the OCAC standings.

The see-saw battle was tied seven times in the second half. Connors trailed 60-58 in the waning moments of regulation when CSC’s Destinee Thrash, who led the Cowgirls in scoring with a game-high 27 points, scored with :02 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Murray’s Ivan Jakubcuva, who has signed with the University of Kentucky, scored five of the seven points in the extra period, finishing with 14 points for the game. Toni Cheadle led the Lady Aggies with 19 points and Tierari Richardson scored 18 points.

Connors trailed by two with eight seconds remaining in overtime, but Trash’s shot from the left corner missed its mark at the buzzer, which would have sent it into a second overtime.

The Lady Aggies opened with a 17-6 lead midway the first half, scoring 13 unanswered points before the Cowgirls clawed their way back into the game.

Connors, behind the 14 first-half points of Thrash, sliced Murray’s lead to 27-23 at the intermission. Thrash was 4 of 6 at the line and drained two 3-point shots in the first 20 minutes.