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RiverHawks face Central Oklahoma in MIAA clash

Published 12/4/17

Game 9: Northeastern State (3-5, 0-2) vs. Central Oklahoma (6-2, 1-1 MIAA) at 7:30 p.m. | December 5, 2017
Tahlequah, Okla. | NSU Event Center 
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Play-by-Play Bill Huddleston
Northeastern State Game Notes

The Series 
This is one of the RiverHawks' longest series that started in 1922, the Bronchos have an 88-49 lead in the previous 137 meetings.  Northeastern State has dropped three in a row to Central Oklahoma with its 92-73 victory on Dec. 19, 2015 as its lone win their last nine encounters.  

The Coaches
Mark Downey was introduced as NSU's tenth men's basketball coach on April 11, 2017 and carries a 207-108 overall head coaching record, with four NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances, and has been named Coach of the Year six times.  Downey comes to NSU after two seasons at Fort Wayne (NCAA DI) as the program's top assistant on the bench, and has helped the Mastodons to appearances in the Tournament (CIT) and the NIT, while going 44-23.  Prior to Fort Wayne, Downey spent the 2014-15 season at Bowling Green where they went 20-12, and he helped direct them into the second round of the CIT.

Tom Hankins (39-28) is a 1989 graduate of Northeastern State and played for the men's basketball program from 1987-89, and is in his third season at Central Oklahoma.  Hankins spent 18 years in the Division I ranks, serving 15 years at Oral Roberts and then spending three seasons as associate head coach at Southern Illinois-Carbondale before coming to UCO.

Teammates Turned Rivals
NSU graduate student Jamir Andrews and UCO senior Marqueese Grayson were teammates last season at UAlbany and will face each other on the court Tuesday.  The pair played the first three games last season together before Andrews missed the remainder of the year due to an injury, and was granted a medial redshirt by the NCAA.
The Glass
Northeastern State has had string of three straight evenings this season with 40+ rebounds which is something that hasn't happened since the end of the 2009-10 season.  In rebounding, the RiverHawks are averaging 11.4 offensive boards per game which is tied for second most in the MIAA, and they are fourth in the league with 37.9 rebounds an outing.
Building Local Support
In their home opener on Wednesday evening against Rogers State the RiverHawks had 1,503 in attendance which was the third largest crowd to visit the NSU Event Center.  To date, NSU's contest on Nov. 16, 2013 against Harding (1,757) in their third ever game in the complex is the high-water mark for the program.
Chasing 1,000
NSU senior returner Montre' Williams is the lone NSU player who has seen action in the past three seasons for the RiverHawks and was an All-MIAA selection last year.   The senior from Copperas Cove, Texas led the RiverHawks in scoring with 12.3 points per game one year ago and has 855 career points in 89 games played.

Last Time Out for NSU
Northeastern State had four in double-figures but they could not figure out a way to get past Missouri Western on Saturday evening, falling 70-66 to end a four game road trip. Jamir Andrews led NSU with 15 points, Josh Bougher had 12, with Lucas Antunez and Montre' Williams both having ten points each.

Last Time Out for UCO
Top-ranked Northwest Missouri held Central Oklahoma to 12 first-half points en route to handing the Bronchos a 60-47 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association setback on Saturday. The defending national champion Bearcats limited UCO to 39.5 percent shooting – including 27.8 percent in the decisive first half – and forced 19 turnovers.

A NSU win would…
  • End a three game skid.
  • Be back-to-back home wins.
  • First MIAA win of the season.
An UCO win would…
  • Be their fourth win in a row over the RiverHawks.
  • Move UCO Head Coach Tom Hankins to 4-1 against his Alma Mater.
  • Move them to 4-2 on the road this season.
Up next
Northeastern State will host Southwest Baptist this Saturday at the NSU Event Center at 3:30 p.m.
Previous Article NSU women nearly upend Missouri Western on the road
Next Article NSU returns home to host rivals Central Oklahoma
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