With each shot, the visitors in black cheered a little bit louder.
The Central Oklahoma men’s basketball team suffered a setback Saturday afternoon in an 84-72 upset loss to rival Northeastern State at Hamilton Field House.
NSU (3-15) never trailed in the second half as it won its second road game of the season.
UCO (10-8) closed the deficit to 53-52 near the midpoint of the second half, but NSU responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession.
UCO coach Bob Hoffman said the Bronchos did not play organized enough.
“(NSU) had a lot to do with that,” Hoffman said. “Offensively and defensively, we didn’t score when we had open shots, and we didn’t get stops when they missed… When we made a run the second half, we just couldn’t get over the hump and get ahead. We were playing immensely better the second half defensively, we just couldn’t get that one stop or make that one transition play.”
Callen Haydon and Cam Givens tied for the scoring lead with 21 points apiece. Troy Locke led NSU with 20.
Haydon said UCO did not match the energy with which NSU played.
“You can’t do that in our league,” Haydon said. “We didn’t come out with energy. We didn’t play good defense. Their record can say whatever it is, they’re a good team, and they showed it. They played better than us tonight, but it is what it is. Back at it tomorrow.”
UCO led 5-2 a minute into the game, but that would be the Bronchos’ biggest lead. It remained a close game for most of the first half, but NSU started to pull away as halftime approached. UCO called timeout with 1.1 seconds to play and set up Jaden Wells, who hit a buzzer-beater from nearly half court.
Wells’ shot closed the deficit to 43-37, but UCO was unable to capitalize on the momentum in the second half.
The loss put a damper on UCO’s senior day festivities. The Bronchos honored seniors Isaiah Wade and Alex Ogunseye before the game.
UCO and NSU will play again Sunday in Tahlequah. Hoffman said it is on him to make sure the Bronchos are ready to play.
“Every team in this league can play,” Hoffman said. “They’ve had a lot of tough losses that they’ve been down, even including Thursday night. They had the game won and it got away from them late. Coach Havens is a great coach. He’s been a good coach a long time. They were on point, and they came and got us.”