Jay Lee, Assistant Director of Athletics for Athletic Communication
MONTICELLO, Ark. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State men’s basketball team started off their weekend road series with a tight 69-68 victory over Arkansas-Monticello on Thursday night.
The Rangers (15-6, 11-5 GAC) forced a missed jumper at the buzzer as the Boll Weevils (13-9, 8-8 GAC) worked their way back into the game in the closing minutes of the contest. Northwestern gained the lead in the opening minutes of the first half and led by as many as 12 in the second half before the home squad worked their way back into the game, but was unable to hit the shots when it matters as the Rangers moved to 11-5 in conference play.
Five Rangers scored double-digits in a game in which the Rangers made 25-of-52 shots in route to a percentage of 48.1 from the field. Senior Cody Halvorson scored 13 points while three other teammates in Greg Minor Jr., A’keem Oglesby, and Treyvon Andres all posted 11.
Minor led the team with seven boards on the evening while seniors Brandon Green and Cedric Collinge each grabbed four. Green also posted nine assists while making two-of-three shots from the field.
Northwestern started the game with a 14-3 run to open up the game that was capped off by an Andres three-pointer at the 15:37 mark of the opening half. The Rangers continued to roll throughout the first half and used two Halvorson free throws with two seconds left on the clock to take a 40-31 advantage into the halftime break.
Halvorson and Johnson led all scorers with 10 points at the break after a half in which the Rangers connected on 15-of-27 shots from the field for a percentage of 55.6.
Arkansas-Monticello came out quickly in the second half and cut the Ranger lead down to just six after a lay-up brought the score to 45-39 with 16:09 remaining in the game. Northwestern’s defensive quickly stepped up and held the Boll Weevils without a basket for over two minutes of play and regained the double-digit advantage at 51-39.
Monticello continued to hang tough and once again got the deficit back to within six at the 9:33 mark, where both teams picked up the offensive pressure as the score moved to 56-50. Both teams experienced a scoring draught for nearly two minutes of play after the Boll Weevils narrowed the margin to 65-58 at the 6:06 mark of the second half.
A deep three from Monticello would bring an end to the scoreless streak for the teams two minutes later as the home squad worked their way back into a one-possession ball game with the Rangers on top 67-65 with just under two minutes remaining in the game. Seconds later, a heated moment between Collinge and Monticello’s Tyrin Jones resulted in a technical foul being issued to both players.
Jones hit one-of-two free throws to bring the score to 67-66 with just over a minute to play in the game. Minor Jr. drew a foul on the ensuing offensive possession and connected on both free throws to push the advantage to three.
Monticello’s Cobe Goosby answered with two free throws of his own as the Rangers held on to a one point advantage at 69-68 with 54 seconds remaining in the game. A costly turnover from Northwestern gave the ball back to the Boll Weevils with just 24 seconds remaining in the game, but a missed jumper at the buzzer sealed the one-point victory for the Rangers.
The Rangers will finish up the weekend series on Saturday afternoon with a road game at Southern Arkansas scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.