WILBURTON — Eastern Oklahoma State College had little trouble staying undefeated on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (9-0) welcomed the OKC Storm Academy to the C.C. Dunlap Field House, pulling off a 105-85 victory.
"I think we were a product of Thanksgiving a little bit," said Eastern head coach Scott Edgar, adding Eastern was slightly off physically and mentally. "…That's why you kind of get back here when you can (and) play same of these games so you…don't just jump right back in the conference."
Speaking of the conference, Saturday's win was the final game for Eastern prior to Tuesday's scheduled NJCAA Division I Region II opener at home against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Edgar thinks the Mountaineers, who had 21 turnovers Saturday, will have more concentrated minds against NEO than they had against the Storm.
The opening minutes on Saturday were a matter of defense, as points were scarce. It wasn't until past the first minute that G'Quavious Lennox drained a 3-pointer for the first bucket of the game, but the Mountaineers could not tack on, and the Storm didn't score their first bucket until around the 17:42 mark of the opening half courtesy of Shamar Hill.
Eastern led throughout, though the Storm did shrink it to a single-digit game at one point in the first half. They made it for 44-35 on one instance. Then, Joe Cortesio, who posted a game-high 26 points, had an and-one with 4:07 left to play. He sank his free throw, and all of a sudden the lead for Mountaineers had been reduced to 46-38.
Still, Eastern was able to persevere. A put back from Tevin Mosley gave the Mountaineers a double-digit lead again, 48-38. Martrell Brooks added on, and Lennox sank both of his free throws at the 1:39 mark. Eastern would close out the first half, 55-43, with the last bucket coming on another Lennox shot from downtown.
The Storm once again pushed it to single digits in the second half, opening up the half on a 5-0 run. The last time it was a single-digit affair was when the Mountaineers held a 65-56 advantage, but a two-handed jam by Michael Turay made it 67-56 and Eastern was able to run away with it in double digits from there.
Edgar said he wants to get a good game plan for Tuesday night. He also thought every unit for the Mountaineers were sharp, but lacked that continuation. Being sharp is one of the things he wants to see when Eastern welcomes NEO.
"We're all 0-0 right now," he said. "It all starts Tuesday."