Cowboys Fall to NEO 66-63 in Region II Tournament to End Season

Cowboys Fall to NEO 66-63 in Region II Tournament to End Season

Enid- Connors State came up empty on its final nine possessions Wednesday at the Stride Bank Center in Enid and the Cowboys' Region II tournament stay was a short one, losing 66-63 to Northeastern A&M in the first round.

The Cowboys appeared to have control of the game when Jarquavious Cain capitalized on a feed from Mason Alexander for a bucket and one with 5:03 to play to go up 10, 63-53. 

But the Cowboys were 0-for-7 from that point while also committing three turnovers, including a shot clock violation, down the stretch.

"We let it slip away because we took some difficult shots, some quick shots,  and they're all sophomores and handled the last five minutes better than we did," said Connors coach Bill Muse. "It's disappointing. But I thought we played 35 strong minutes."

Alexander was whistled for traveling with a chance to increase that 10-point lead. Kalil Camara's 3 with 4:12 to go began the rally for the Norsemen.

Tucson Redding's 3 from the left wing with 23.2 left gave NEO its first lead since early in the second half.

The Cowboys took a timeout with 12.1 left to set up for a final shot. Gavin Harris' off-balance 3 just off the baseline near the Cowboys' bench was off the mark and Jadan Graves hit a free throw before missing the second just before time expired.

"We didn't set up well," Muse said. "Right guy but not the clean look we wanted."

Though up as much as 20-8 on Gavin Harris' 3 midway through the first half, the Cowboys found themselves trailing late before taking a 34-33 lead at the half.

Nikita Konstantynovsyi led NEO (14-8) with 15 points and 10 rebounds and will play NOC-Tonkawa on Friday. Redding had 11. In all, four Norsemen scored in double figures. Camara had 11 and Graves 10.

Cain led Connors, which finishes at 14-8, with 22 points in his final game. Sammy Mike had 12 and Harris along with Jordan Tillmon had 9 points each. Harris, like Cain, is a sophomore, but will have an extra year of eligibility due to a short freshman season. Mike and Harris are also freshmen.

"Battling through COVID and the late (second semester) start to the season, starting three freshmen, that showed down the stretch," said Muse. "I can't  fault the effort, we didn't close the game when we had a chance. Just one of those things."