TAHLEQUAH — It was one of those “it wasn’t pretty but…” games for Northeastern State’s RiverHawks, who survived icy second-half shooting to knock off Missouri Southern State 56-48 Wednesday night at Jack Dobbins Field House in MIAA conference action.
After shooting 46 percent from the field in the first half, the RiverHawks (17-6, 12-3) were just 6-of-24 in the second half (25 percent). Fortunately for NSU, the Lions suffered from same problem as they were only 5-of-22 (23 percent) in the half. In fact, neither team was able to dent the scoreboard in the first seven minutes of the second half and NSU coach Randy Gipson wasn’t sure what to say.
“It’s just one of those things that sometimes happens that you can’t explain in basketball,” said Gipson. “We were moving well enough and getting open looks, but we just didn’t knock them down.”
The RiverHawk ladies are in third place, one game behind Washburn in the MIAA.
After losing to NSU by 24 points three weeks ago, the Lions played a much more aggressive game the second time around and hurt the RiverHawks’ pace on offense.
The game was tied 31-31 at halftime and remained that way until the Lions (11-11, 5-9) hit a free throw with 12:49 to play to take what would be their last lead of the game at 32-31.The RiverHawks got the next five points to go up 36-32 and nursed a small lead for the next seven minutes.
Up 46-42 with 3:00 to play, the RiverHawks scored six unanswered points to stretch the lead to 10 at 52-42. The run included a big 3-point shot by senior Taylor Lewis, who was the MIAA Women’s Athlete of the Week last week. The Broken Arrow product had an uncharacteristically poor shooting night (7-of-20), but stepped up in the clutch down the stretch.
“The first half and most of the second were a little bit rough for me. I missed shots and got good looks. But finally they started dropping at the end,” said Lewis.