Tahlequah Daily Press

January 29, 2014

Pitt State up next for NSU

Sports Editor

— bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

It was a statement to describe Northeastern State’s 75-63 loss to the Washburn men on Saturday. But it was a perfect summarization of how things are going right now for the RiverHawks.

“There were some bright moments...,” NSU coach Larry Gipson said. “But we just got hit with a haymaker.”

Much the same can be said about NSU’s season thus far. The RiverHawks were ranked in the top 25 while winning 10 of their first 12 games of the season.

Since then, NSU has fallen on hard times. The only thing separating NSU from a six-game losing streak is a five-point win over Nebraska Kearney on Jan. 16.

Other than that, it’s been a rough go of it lately for NSU (11-7, 6-5 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association).

Trying to reverse their recent losing trend, the RiverHawks will head north to Pittsburg State tonight. The men will play at 7:30 with the women to start the night at 5:30.

Pittsburg State, which has lost four in a row, is led by Devon Branch, who averages 19.8 points per game. Jake Bullard also tallies 14.4 points a contest.

For NSU, Bryton Hobbs will enter averaging a league-high 23.8 points per game. However, the senior guard was held out of the starting lineup at Washburn.

“That was a coach’s decision,” Gipson said. “It was an internal situation and it has been handled.”

The NSU women (9-9, 6-5) will continue on the road after a week of highs and lows. The RiverHawks began last week with a blowout win over No. 2 Emporia State, only to follow that up with a 60-37 loss at Washburn.

“For whatever reason, Washburn threw our concentration off,” NSU women’s coach Randy Gipson said. “We are going to rest (on Sunday) and then we just have to get back to work.”

After tallying a career-high 23 points against Emporia State, NSU’s Fontana Tate was held scoreless against Washburn.

Leading the way for Pittsburg State (13-6, 6-3) is Lizzy Jeronimus, who averages 19.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest.

“We have to come out and play with better intensity and focus,” Gipson said. “We just need to have a better focus on the game plan.”