By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Writer
TAHLEQUAH – Bryton Hobbs scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as No. 17 Northeastern State beat No. 25 Harding 72-66 Saturday night before 1,757 fans in the grand opening of the NSU Event Center
NSU (3-0) was in control most of the first half, reaching a double-digit lead at 22-12 on Marcus Shepard’s putback of a Hobbs miss at the 8:58 mark. They matched it at 34-24 on a Hobbs layup on a break with :26 until halftime, giving him 10 points at the break.
Another Hobbs’ drive to the basket gave the RiverHawks their third 10-point lead at 44-34. But the Bison (1-1) would battle back, tying the score at the 5:43 mark on Nick Mason’s 3-pointer.
Then it became a game at the free-throw line for NSU. Landon Demasters hit a pair with 5:12 remaining to put the RiverHawks in front to stay. Hobbs was 9-of-10 down the stretch, including 6-of-6 in the final minute.
“I told the kids before the game that this was as close to an NCAA tournament atmosphere as you’ll find in November and I think that was true,” said RiverHawks coach Larry Gipson. “I don’t think it was a game marrred by a lot of blatant mistakes by either team. It was a pretty well-played game.”
NSU outshot Harding hitting 23 of 51 shots from the field fo ra 45.1 percent clip to 20-of-58 from the field for 34.5 percent. The RiverHawks had a 13-0 advantage in points off turnovers and a 14-4 edge on second-chance points. Harding had the edge in rebounds 38-35 with Johnson and Gibson each with nine.
Also for NSU, Demasters and Dalen Qualls each had 12.
Harding had five players in double figures, led by Hayden Johnson’s 13. Tony Cochran, Weston Jameson and Jacob Gibson each had 11 and Andraz Kavas 10.
Drury 69, NSU 67, 2 OT
Kate Bellamy’s jumper with seconds remaining from the right wing was blocked and rebounded by Drury’s Sanayika Sheilds and Drury held on in a game that was close throughout.
Che-Ron Lewis led the young RiverHawks (0-4) and all scorers with 19 points while Chelsey Beathard had 15, Fontana Tate 11 and Melissa Jones 10. Three players finished in double figures for Drury (3-0, with Paige Wilson and Annie Armstrong each having 14 points.
Armstrong’s free throws with 5.5 left in regulation tied the game at 55. NSU chose to forego a timeout and push the ball up court but couldn’t get it past midcourt as the buzzer sounded.
It was 65-all after the first overtime and Drury owned a 4-2 edge in the second extra session.
“Our philosophy is geared toward going after them and pushing the ball. There’s different ways of approaching that. We call timeout, they get a chance to make adjustments too,” said NSU coach Randy Gipson. “Maybe next time we do it different when we’re a little more veteran team than what we are now and honestly, we haven’t worked on what to do in that situation yet. We’re still just going about working on the basic things.”
BACONE (M) 88, MCPHERSON 66 – The Bacone Warriors never trailed on Saturday as they rolled to a victory over McPherson College at the Palmer Center.
For the game the Warriors (2-4) knocked down 55 percent (31-of-56) while going 20-for-26 at the free throw line.
Derrick Thomas paced the Warriors attack with 23 points, Christian Smith finished with 18 points and 12 boards and Geo Brewer pumped in 17.
Bacone (2-4) travels to face Southwestern College on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
MISSOURI ST. 96, TU (M) 93 – Shaquille Harrison scored 21 points, including 16 in the second half, but it was not enough as the Tulsa men’s basketball team fell to Missouri State on Saturday at JQH Arena.
Rashad Smith scored 19 points and D’Andre Wright had 11 points for the Hurricane (0-2), which shot 49 percent from the field, making 29-of-59 shots. TU also connected on 79 percent of its free throws, going 30-38 from the line. Smith alone made 9-of-11 free throw attempts.
ORU 82, TEXAS STATE 65 – A hot shooting night, including a 10-15 mark from 3-point range, led the Oral Roberts University men’s basketball team past Texas State on Saturday at the Mabee Center.
Obi Emegano set a new career high with 27 points for the Golden Eagles (2-1), including a 4-6 mark from 3-point range and shot 9-12 overall. The 27 points topped his previous career best of 25, scored against Eureka while he was at Western Illinois.
LEBETTE (Kan.) 84, CONNORAS (W) 76 – Connors State Cowgirls rallied from a 20-point deficit late in the second half against Lebette County, cutting the Lady Cards lead to five points, only to fall short 84-76 in the Coffeyville Classic Saturday.
The loss drops the Cowgirls to 2-4 on the season heading into Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Western Oklahoma State College at Melvin Self Field House.
Destinee Thrash led the Cowgirls’ scoring with 20 points with Johnesha Major and Jessica Dalman adding 11 points each.
OSU (W) 87, N. COLORADO 51 – Tiffany Bias scored 18 points and dished out seven assists as No. 20 Oklahoma State defeated Northern Colorado on Saturday.
There was a moment of silence prior to the game to honor four lives lost in a plane crash on Nov. 17, 2011; former head coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and former state Sen. Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula.
Bias made 6 of 10 shots for Oklahoma State (3-0). LaShawn Jones scored 17 and Brittany Atkins added 14. Bias became the third Oklahoma State player (12th in the Big 12) to record 600 career assists.
ARKANSAS (W) 74, FURMAN 45 – Kelsey Brooks led the way as one of four Razorbacks to reach double-digit scoring, as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team (3-0) earned a win over Furman (1-2) inside Bud Walton Arena on Saturday.
Brooks finished the day with 16 points on 70 percent shooting (7-for-10), as the freshman finished with her third straight game scoring in double digits. Fellow freshmen Jessica Jackson (13) and McKenzie Adams (12) also reached double figures, as well as senior Keira Peak (11).