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NEO Men's Basketball Hosts Seminole on Jan. 9 - KOAM TV 7

NEO Men's Basketball Hosts Seminole on Jan. 9

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RELEASE FROM NEO ATHLETICS:

MIAMI — Avoiding a conflict with the NCAA National Football Championship broadcast on Monday, Jan. 8, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen return to the hardwoods, Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m., against Seminole State College in the NEO Field House.
After winning 10 of the first 14 games of the season, the Golden Norsemen return from the Christmas holidays with a 1-1 record in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference.

NEO concluded the fall portion of the schedule with an 89-47 victory on Dec. 6 against the junior varsity Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

“We reported back Tuesday, Jan. 2 and expect to get at least 10 practice sessions in before hosting Seminole,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “We moved the game from Monday to Tuesday so our fans would get a chance to see Georgia and Alabama play for the national championship.

“We’re returning an intimate group of 11 players from the 14 that we had during the first semester,” Grover said. “We’ve been giving them a lot of reps and are trying to get more predictability out of what we do.”

Most notable of the non-returning players was 6-11 freshman post player Yuri Sena da Silva of Brazil. Slowed by injury, da Silva appeared in only three games last semester.

“Our biggest focus right now is trying to develop more continuity on the offensive end,” Grover said. “We want players to know who’s going to shoot the ball and from what spot on the floor. That’s what we want to zero in on.

“Another area where we need to improve is to become more aggressive,” Grover said. “With Yuri not coming back, we’re going to be a little undersized in the paint.

“So, we’re going to have to create a little more defensive pressure on the ball to sort of hide our lack of size in the middle,” Grover said. “We’ve got to be a lot more aggressive on the ball.”

During the first semester the Golden Norse averaged 78.1 points on offense while limiting the opposition to 63.1 points per game.

“Over the break, our coaching staff took a look at the statistics and found that we weren’t taking enough 3-point shots and our percentage of hitting them was too low,” Grover said. “We need to get the ball into the hands of guys that have proven they can shoot the ball and get them to shoot more.”

Freshman shooting guard Ravel Moody (6-6) leads the Norse in scoring with an 11.3 average. He also has recorded 22 assists and 20 steals.

Veteran guard David Thornton (6-4) has an 11.2 scoring average and a 5.5 rebounding mark for NEO. Thornton has recorded 14 assists and 13 steals.

Golden Norse freshman point guard Josh Humphries (6-4) leads the team with 67 assists while posting 15 steals. Humphries averages 4.6 points per game.

Sophomore forward Dylan Van Eyck (6-7) leads NEO with a 7.4 rebounding average and 28 total blocked shots. He is scoring 9.8 points per game.

Another freshman, Valentine Van Putten (6-4), is producing 8.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for NEO.

Seminole’s Trojans return to action with a 10-3 season record and a 1-1 mark in the OCAC.

Last season the Trojans finished 8-8 in the conference and 21-10 overall. Seminole eliminated NEO, 74-68, in the quarterfinals of the Men’s Division I Region II Tournament at Shawnee.

“We’ve struggled against Seminole in recent years and they are the ones that beat us in the regionals last year,” Grover said. “The reason we struggle against them is simple because they pound the ball inside and they are very deliberate about doing that.”

Through 13 games the Trojans are averaging 92.6 points on offense while limiting opponents to a mere 29.2 points per game.

Seminole features the nation’s leading 3-point shooter in sophomore point guard Richard Anderson (6-1 from Midwest City). Anderson has connected on 20 of 25 from the arch for 79 percent. He averages 8.2 points per game with 49 assists and 36 steals.

“They get the majority of their points from inside the paint,” Grover said. “And, I don’t expect that to change.”

Sophomore shooting guard Darnell Butler (6-4 from Lafayette, Indiana) leads Seminole with a 20.4 scoring average. He collects 6.2 rebounds per game.

Veteran forward Marcus Blackwell (6-4 from Bridgeport, Connecticut) averages 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest.

Sophomore center Aaron Givens (6-8 from Muskogee) leads the Trojans with a 9.8 rebounding average while scoring 10.7 points each game. Givens has also made 19 blocked shots.

NEO travels to Wilburton for a 7:30 p.m. conference matchup on Thursday with Eastern Oklahoma State College.

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