, Muskogee, OK


February 28, 2013

Shut the doors: RiverHawks close Dobbins with sweep

TAHLEQUAH – Fittingly, students amongst the past-capacity crowd of 1,224 picked up Bryton Hobbs and carried him off the floor after Northeastern State’s overtime win against Central Oklahoma on Wednesday.

The 6-foot junior guard scored eight points in overtime to lift the RiverHawks to the 83-71 win against the Bronchos in  Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association action before a packed  Jack Dobbins Field House — the last scheduled game at the 58-year-old facility.

“It felt great (being picked up) because we didn’t have that great fan base earlier in the season,” Hobbs said. “But everybody throughout our school saw our effort and wanted to come out and support. When they first picked me, I thought ‘Please put me down’ or ‘Don’t drop me.‘ ”

Hobbs dropped in 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as NSU improved to 19-7 overall and 12-6 in conference.

NSU coach Larry Gipson probably would have picked up Hobbs himself.

“He’s a big-game player who has saved us numerous games down the stretch,” Gipson said. “I think he has the will to win and the ability to make plays. I think you saw that tonight.”

Hobbs almost won the game in regulation as his shot from mid-court at the buzzer bounced on top of the basket, but didn’t go through.

“I was praying it would go in, but it rimmed out,” he said.

Jermaine Bransford added 18, Ethan Anderson scored 17 and Landon DeMasters chipped in 11 for the RiverHawks.

UCO dropped to 12-13 and 10-7 as Spencer Smith scored a team-high 21 points. Jamell Cormier scored 19 and Josh Gibbs added 18.

In between games, Dobbins (the program’s winningest coach with 321 victories), the current RiverHawk seniors from both teams, former NSU coaches and players from 1955 to the present and the 2003 men’s national championship team were honored. A video showing the last seconds of the national title win against Kentucky Wesleyan was also shown.

Fans and school officials could be seen wearing gray t-shirts that had “Farewell Jack Dobbins Field House” on the front and “Our House for 58 years” on the back.

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