Northeastern State knocks off Hounds

CNJ staff

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Junior guard Dominique Gaines had 20 points, six assists and five rebounds Saturday to lead Northeastern State to its sixth win in the last eight games, a 72-60 Lone Star Conference crossover victory over Eastern New Mexico University.

Northeastern State (8-5) led all the way except for an early tie, but the RiverHawks weren’t able to shake ENMU (5-9) until the final two minutes when they went 6-for-6 from the line — including four by Gaines — to break open a six-point lead.

Senior center Jason Jones added 18 points and seven rebounds for the RiverHawks, while senior guard Marlon Burnett scored 14 points. In the second half, NSU shot 52 percent from the field and hit 17-of-22 free throws to keep the Greyhounds at bay.

Junior guard Reggie Nelson and Victor Reid topped ENMU with 17 and 16 points, respectively, but the Hounds struggled to 41 percent shooting from the field, including 2-of-17 from 3-point range.

Reid’s jumped pulled ENMU even 6-6 with 13:10 left in the first half, but Antoine Branch’s 3-pointer on the next trip down gave Northeastern the lead for good. ENMU stayed close, pulling to 27-24 on Reid’s 3-point play with 56 seconds left in the half, but Branch hit a 3-pointer to extend the margin to six at the break.

ENMU closed to within a basket four times in the first nine minutes of the second half, but Jesse Scroggins’ 3-point play started a 13-3 run which put the RiverHawks up by double figures for the first time.

The margin stayed between eight and 11 points until junior forward Tyler Jefferson’s 3-point play pulled ENMU to 66-60 with 2:01 left. But the Hounds did not score on any of their final six possessions .

The loss was the fifth in a row and eighth in the last nine games for the Hounds, who begin LSC South Division play against Abilene Christian on Wednesday at Greyhound Arena.