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February 24, 2013

Closing of the cozy confines: NSU nears end of era with Jack Dobbins gym

(Continued)

Saying Goodbye to Dobbins:

Ten memorable moments

1. Feb. 8, 2003, No. 1 goes down. This was Northeastern State’s 13th consecutive win in a national championship year. The Redmen came in ranked second nationally in team field goal percentage (53 percent), made 50 percent of its first-half shots and then connected on its first seven field goals after halftime on the way to a 17 of 32 shooting performance (53.1 percent). It marked the first time all year that an opponent has shot better than 50 percent from the floor against Tarleton, which was leading NCAA Division II for a second straight season in field goal percentage defense. Shon Robinson and Muskogee High ex Darnell Hinson led the Redmen with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

2. Stuffed beyond the rim, March 9,  2002. – Before what’s believed to be the largest-ever crowd at Dobbins, NSU lost its first game in the South Central Regional to Rockhurst in two overtimes, 75-70. Several hundred were turned away by the fire marshal. Chris Edwards was a season best 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

3. Best scoring game, Dec. 8, 1962. Using available records, All-America guard Bobby Edwards set a school scoring mark with 47 points in a 101-79 win over Langston. Richard Dumas broke this with 50 points in a road game in 1968.

4. Dennis Rodman, thrice.  His story at Dobbins was as odd as the man himself. In 1983-84, his first season, he had 24 points and 17 rebounds in a 65-64 NSU overtime win. The following season, he had 18 points and 17 rebounds in a 61-57 loss. His 13-point game in 1985-86 was his lowest regular-season total but Southeastern won that game 57-56. It was in that game, former sports information director Doug Quinn recalls, that Rodman, booed and mocked with plastic worms the entire game, made a head first dive into the crowd. “I remember it was the southwest corner of the gym and it got real quiet when he disappeared into the crowd. When he came back out, there were cheers for him the rest of the game, I think, because people appreciated his hustle.”

5. Titletown. March 8, 2003. Joanna Golunska, a Polish native, scored 19 points and the Lady Reds won their first LSC championship, 82-58 over West Texas A&M. The Riverhawks would be runner up in 2004, 2005, 2010. They lost to Drury in a neutral site, 73-70 in the SC Regional.

6. Double-buzzer beaters.  On Feb. 7, 1964, Ted King, the fourth option on the play, hit a shot at the top of the circle to beat Southeastern. On Feb. 8, in an overtime win over Oklahoma Baptist, Kenny Willis, Tahlequah resident, hit a 92-foot shot for the win. The play, said Dobbins, was to be a pass from Ron Cox to Joe Smith on the opposite — kind of like Laettner with Duke against Kentucky. Instead the pass went to Kenny.

7. Lone Stars, March 2, 2002 — Playing for the Lone Star Conference title on its home court, Northeastern State’s men beat Tarleton 66-50, earning a host berth for its first NCAA regional.

8. On the map,  Nov. 25, 2003 – NSU 88, Drury 79 – Drury was a top-five team and it was their only loss until they got to the national tournament. Kelli Griffith and Leslie Warner each had 18 points. “I don’t think anyone would have seen us as a prominent program back then but that win, in my opinion, catapulted us into the higher level of national respect,” said RiverHawks’ coach Randy Gipson. It put them at 4-0 en route to a 12-1start and their second consecutive LSC title, this one won on a neutral floor.

9. Playing with the big girls. Feb. 25, 1978. NSU women hosted the AIAW state tournament and finished third beating Central State 51-48 to qualify for the AIAW Regional in Nacogdoches, Texas. NSU lost to Oral Roberts 67-53, missing a finals shot at Oklahoma, which wound up losing to ORU 57-53. All three teams moved on.

10.  Hurricane RiverHawk, Jan. 21, 1985. NSU women 77, Tulsa 43. Maybe the biggest name team Northeastern has beaten. The Lady Reds did twice in the 1984-85 season. Tulsa was 5-21 that year and two years later, discontinued its program until 1996.

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