ALVA, Okla. (11-1-11) — Three Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rangers finished in double figures on Tuesday as the men’s basketball team opened the season with a blowout victory over No. 12 College of the Ozarks (Mo.), 76-51.
Despite a sloppy start to the contest by both teams, the Rangers broke the game wide open midway through the first half after a 16-2 run by the home team. During that stretch, junior Marshall Bell had 11 of his game high 17 points, including three field goals from behind the arc.
Shortly after the Bobcats knocked down a three of their own to break the run with 5:01 to go in the first, Bell struck again with another three-pointer to extent the Northwestern lead to 14.
The Rangers eventually had their largest lead of the first half with just a minute to go in the half when they led by 18, 37-19.
Of the many positives from the season opening victory is the play of transfer forward Jeremy Felton. The big man missed all of last season with an injury, and on Tuesday night against the Bobcats, began to shake off the rust with a 14 point, seven rebound performance.
In general, the Ranger big men stepped up against a smaller Bobcat team, as Thiago Guilherme finished with 14 points and five boards, and Jonathan Freemyer added five points and six rebounds.
The Rangers largest lead of the game came late, with under a minute to go, with a 30-point spread.
Northwestern head coach Andrew Brown held true to form in the first home, playing aggressive defense on the Bobcats, forcing the visitors to turn the ball over 25 times. Seven Rangers recorded steals, led by Eze Akwari with three.
Up next for the Rangers is a date with Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) at home on Monday (Nov. 7) at 7 p.m. in Perceful Fieldhouse.
Tue, November 1, 2011
by Eric Scott