TAHLEQUAH — The Northeastern State men’s basketball team earned a 90-45 victory over Ecclesia College Monday night at Jack Dobbins Field House.
The 45-point triumph was the largest margin of victory for the undefeated RiverHawks (4-0) in nearly four years. NSU defeated Hillsdale College by 62 points on Dec. 8, 2009 (99-37).
”The big thing we were looking for tonight was an improvement in our defensive play, especially in our defensive rebounding,” said NSU coach Larry Gipson. “We gave up 19 offensive rebounding to Central Bible College and I thought that was entirely too many. That’s something we have to shore up, and I think we did a much better job of that with only allowing eight to Ecclesia.”
Northeastern State was led in scoring by Marcus Sheppard. The junior forward was 9-of-11 shooting from the field for 19 points. He also added a game-high eight rebounds and two blocks.
“I’m really happy to see Marcus Sheppard play well because he’s been struggling,” Gipson said. “He’s shown a lot of brilliance in flashes and in practice, but he hasn’t been comfortable in games. We’ve just been waiting and hoping that he would have a breakout night where he can get some confidence.
“We have a lot of faith that he’s going to be an excellent player. I thought he did a great job tonight of reading screens and getting himself open properly. He was ready to make a play when he caught the ball.”
Junior guard Bryton Hobbs filled the stat sheet with 15 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Ethan Anderson added 11 points and five rebounds and senior guard Jon Miller joined sophomore forwards Landon DeMasters and Dakota Caudill with nine points each.
Northeastern State shot a blistering 67 percent from the field (40-for-60), and the team also knocked down seven of 13 three-point shots. NSU had 25 assists to just 11 turnovers and the RiverHawks also recorded nine blocks for the second straight game.