Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 6, 2014

NSU hoops teams to host rival UCO

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

Life has been good for the Northeastern State women at home. At the NSU Event Center, the RiverHawks are a dangerous 8-3, including two wins over ranked teams and a couple of teams receiving votes for the top 25.

Outside of Tahlequah city limits, NSU’s fortune hasn’t been so pleasant. The RiverHawks have one win and seven losses in neutral-site or true away games.

NSU had won three at home during the Ides of January, but that was followed by two road losses, including a 68-53 setback the last time out at Pittsburg State on Jan. 29.

“(Pittsburg State) is a good team that has a lot of weapons and they made some shots,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “We didn’t make quite enough.”

He’s right — in a sense.

While the RiverHawks did post a better shooting percentage — 42.3 percent (22-of-52) compared to Pittsburg State’s 40.3 percent (25-of-62), NSU turned the ball over 13 times, which led to 20 points on the other end for Pittsburg State. The Gorillas, on the other hand, only turned the ball over six times.

“We had some careless turnovers,” Gipson said. “We let them get some second shots that we need to reduce as we go forward.”

Look for NSU to try clean up both of those areas when it hosts Central Oklahoma at 5:30 tonight at the NSU Event Center. The RiverHawks enter 9-10 overall and 6-6 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Central Oklahoma, riding a three-game losing streak, is 10-9 and 5-7.

“We just have to try to get better,” Gipson said following the loss to Pittsburg State, which played the Bronchos on Saturday and won 69-66.

“...We’re just going to keep game planning and keep working on trying to be a good team.”

The same philosophy applies to the NSU men’s team. The RiverHawks (11-8, 6-6) are reeling while currently on a four-game losing streak, including a 73-63 loss at Pittsburg State most recently.

“January has been a miserable month for us,” said NSU men’s coach Larry Gipson, whose team went 2-6 in January.

The Bronchos (12-7, 6-6) went 4-4 in January and capped off the month with a 74-73 win over Pittsburg State. Josh Gibbs, who averages 20.7 points per game, logged 22 points against the Gorillas.

For NSU, not even a 19-point, nine-assist game from Bryton Hobbs was good enough to propel the RiverHawks past Pittsburg State.

Hobbs — at 23.5 points per game — and Gibbs are the top two scorers currently in the MIAA.

The NSU men and Central Oklahoma will tip off at 7:30 following the women’s contest.

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