Jay Lee, Assistant Director of Athletics for Athletic Communications
ALVA – Northwestern Oklahoma State men’s basketball picked up a much-needed home victory over East Central University on Saturday. Offensively, the Rangers broke out for 101 points while shooting 65.9 percent from the field, including a 10-of-15 clip from beyond the arc. Seniors Cody Halvorson (31 pts, 6-for-7 3Pt) and Greg Minor Jr. (20 pts, 5 reb) had career games against the Tigers, with the pair combining to shoot an impressive 86 percent from the field.
The Rangers and Tigers came into the day in a tie for 3rd in the GAC standings, and both squads knew the importance of ending the first half of the conference season with a victory. The black-and-red opened the game on a 16-4 run after they hit their first six shots. The first half would see Northwestern extend their lead to as many as 16 points.
Outstanding once again was Halvorson who shot 9-of-10 from the field, making six of his seven attempts from downtown. Brandon Greencontributed 18 points for the Rangers and A.J. Jones had a team-high 10 assists in the victory.
Northwestern led by 22 midway through the second half before East Central managed to put a sizable run together, cutting the Ranger advantage to just seven points with 1:13 to play. The Rangers defense stepped up in the dying minutes, putting to rest any would-be comeback bid by the Tigers.
In a game that was very tightly officiated, both teams combined to shoot 81 free throws on 59 personal fouls.
Despite usually running their offense through Cameron Talley, a 6’0 guard who dropped 44 points on Southeastern on Tuesday, the Tigers relied heavily on Marcus Lytle. Lytle led East Central with 37 points while pulling down seven boards. Talley was held to just 11 points.
With the win, Northwestern retakes a share of 2nd place, tied with Southeastern Oklahoma State with an 8-3 GAC record and sitting three games back of leader Southern Nazarene.
After completing the first leg of their Great American Conference play, the Rangers will begin the second half with a two-game road trip into the heart of Arkansas. Northwestern will head to Arkadelphia, Ark. for a date with Ouachita Baptist on Thursday before making the long trip across the street and playing Henderson State on Saturday. The game against OBU is slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off, with Saturday’s matchup at HSU starting at 3 p.m.