From NWOSU Sports Information
Rangers defeat Southeastern to end skid
ALVA, Okla. – Titania Simmons, Macy Gibson and Mandy Norman reached double figures to lead Northwestern Oklahoma State past Southeastern Oklahoma State University 68-46 Saturday afternoon.
“It’s good to get a win,” said Northwestern coach Eric Bozeman, whose team snapped a five-game losing streak.” This job is not fun when you go a couple weeks without a win. You’ve got to win to get some confidence; we needed to get some gas in our car. We were sitting on the road on empty, but we got a little gas in the car tonight.”
Northwestern (4-9, 3-4 Great American Conference) gradually built a first-half lead, and a Simmons three-pointer made it 16-6 with 12 minutes remaining.
Southeastern (5-9, 3-5 GAC) went on a 7-0 run and cut the Rangers’ lead to 16-13.
Northwestern responded with a 13-2 run to make it 26-15 with two minutes remaining, and the Rangers entered halftime with a 31-21 lead.
“At halftime I challenged them to not let up,” Bozeman said. “There have been numerous times this year we’ve let our opponent back in the game.”
The Rangers responded to Bozeman’s challenge and opened the second half with a 12-5 run, which ended with a Gibson jumper to make it 43-26.
“Macy Gibson was the difference in the game,” said Bozeman. “She’s developed into a player that can come off the bench, which is great. Macy is a senior and she brings leadership to the court.”
Northwestern forced six second-half turnovers to hold off the Savage Storm.
“Our girls compete and play hard, just like they have done every game,” Bozeman said. “When you play hard and play solid defense the turnovers will come.”
Simmons – who missed Thursday’s East Central game – returned to lead the Rangers with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Norman helped out with 10.
“She (Titania) came back and played awful hard,” Bozeman said. “Sometimes I play her too much, but she would play the entire game if I asked her. We are a better team with Titania in the lineup. She makes each player next to her better.”
As a team Northwestern shot 40 percent (24-of-60) from the field, including 46.9 percent (15-of-32) in the second half. Northwestern held the Savage Storm to 27.8 percent (15-of-54) from the field.
“We have the ability to play great defense,” Bozeman said. “Southeastern came in scoring 70 points a game and to hold them to below 50 is great. Our mindset must be to play great defense, and hopefully turn that into offense.”
Northwestern came into Saturday averaging 70 percent from the charity strike, however, fortunes changed against Southeastern. The Rangers were 15-of-16 (93 percent) from the free-throw line.
That was enough to break Northwestern’s free-throw percentage record, which was 9-of-10 (90 percent).
“The past month we weren’t able to make free throws,” Bozeman said. “Sometimes you just know about this team, but that proves we have the ability to make our free throws.”
The Rangers return to GAC action Thursday at Ouachita Baptist University, with tip-off set for 5:30 p.m. CST.
Freemyer’s 30 leads Rangers past Southeastern
ALVA, Okla. — Jonathan Freemyer scored 19 of his 30 points in the second-half, and Northwestern Oklahoma State needed every last one of them to hold off a hard-charging Southeastern Oklahoma State, 79-69.
The Rangers (6-7, 4-3 Great American Conference) ran their home winning streak to five games and also unseated Southeastern from its perch atop the conference standings.
“We’ve had to overcome a few things these last two nights to get wins. Give credit to our guys for really competing and coming up with plays,” said Northwestern head coach Andrew Brown.
The Rangers topped 50 percent from the field for the second straight game, making 11 of their first 12 shots from the field. Just as importantly, they held Southeastern to just over 40 percent and kept the conference’s best three-point shooting team from doing damage from deep.
Bruce Wright scored 10 points and Daryl Glover – who sat much of the first half after picking up two quick fouls – bounced back to finish with 14 points, five assists and no turnovers.
Glover, coming off a career-high 26 points on Thursday, went to the bench with just over 17 minutes to play in the first, but the Rangers hardly missed a beat. Freshman T’aries Taylor scored nine points over the next two and half minutes as Northwestern took a 19-7 lead.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better answer,” Brown said. “He came in and knocked down a three. He got to the basket. He just showed a lot of confidence. T’aries is an awfully good basketball player when he puts it all together.”
The Rangers kept their foot on the pedal, hitting field goals on four of their next five possessions. Wright scored twice inside and Marshall Bell and Freemyer each drilled threes. Bell’s came from 28 feet out.
Southeastern’s rugged front-line features 6-foot-10 and 6-11 bodies along with two more regulars at 6-7, but the Rangers were much quicker in the early going, running the lead out to as many as 23 points late in the first half.
“I think you just compete and do the best you can do,” Brown said. “They can go big and they can go extra big. We did a good job of attacking their zone early.”
Southeastern began to make adjustment after that initial surge, holding Northwestern scoreless over the final five minutes of the period. By halftime, the gap had shrunk to just 12. Southeastern continued its momentum early in the second, pulling within three points at the 15:12 mark on the last of a 24-4 run.
The Rangers regrouped, but the Savage Storm continued to hang around, pulling back within three on five separate occasions. In each case, Northwestern answered immediately with a bucket to stay at arm’s length.
The last gasp for Southeastern came with 3:21 to go. Steven Kohli hit a three to slice the Ranger lead to 69-66. Freemyer immediately returned the favor, knocking down a tough turnaround jumper from 10 feet out. Glover added a pair of free throws to push the margin to seven.
Kohli would knock down one more trey to make it 73-69 with 2:04 to go. The Storm had a shot to get it one, but Glover rebounded a missed trey and found Brandon Wooley in transition on the other end to make it 75-69.
Southeastern turned it over, Glover hit another big shot, and the Rangers breathed a sigh of relief.
Chris Roussell played the full 40 minutes for Southeastern, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead Southeastern (9-5, 5-3 GAC). The Storm turned it over 15 times to just nine for Northwestern.
There’s something about Jan. 12 that agrees with Freemyer. His 30 points matched his career-high, set on Jan. 12 of last year against John Brown.
It’s confidence restored, Northwestern heads to Arkadelphia, Ark. next Thursday and Saturday to take on Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State. The Rangers are 4-0 at home in GAC play (all four wins by double-digits) but are 0-3 away from Alva.
“Now it’s obviously time to take our lessons on the road and bring a little bit of toughness there,” said Brown. “We’ve gotten to where we want to protect home court and our surroundings, but we’ve got to take that edge on the road if we want to win our conference.”