Northeastern State turns back Hounds

Tristan Largent takes a 3-point shot over the outstretched arm of Northeastern State sophomore Ben Rovenstine in the second half of Thursday’s Lone Star Conference crossover game at Greyhound Arena. (CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

PORTALES — Northeastern State wasn’t having much luck getting second chances with its admittedly-poor offensive rebounding. Instead, the Redmen took their chances from the 3-point line and ran away in the second half.

Steve Neal had 17 points to lead four Redmen in double figures, and Northeastern State hit four of its six second-half 3-pointers during a 21-8 run en route to a 63-58 win in a Lone Star Conference crossover game.

Ben Rovenstine scored all 15 of his points in the second half for the Redmen (4-7), including 12 during the pivotal run. His 3-pointer with 10:38 left gave NSU the lead for good at 41-40.

He followed it up later with a 3-for-3 trip to the free throw line, then hit a sideline 3 with that sent the Redmen to a 56-46 lead and the fans to the Greyhound Arena exits.

“We thought all game long we were a far better perimeter team than we demonstrated,” NSU coach Larry Gipson said. “Tyree Hardge (13 points, eight in the second half) and Ben Rovenstine really stepped up.”

The perimeter game helped the Redmen hold off a dominant night (14-4) on the offensive boards for the Greyhounds, which resulted in a 17-6 advantage in second-chance points.

The Hounds rallied late, as Tristan Largent hit a 3-pointer and had a steal and layup during a 7-0 run, but Hardge banked in a floating jumper for the nail in the coffin.

Largent took advantage of a backcourt depleted by an early injury to starting guard Josh Dennis, scoring 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Only one other ENMU player, however, reached double figures — senior Mikal Monette, who scored 10 points on a 2-for-7 shooting night.

“Tristan Largent’s a very tough player to guard one-on-one and our best player (to guard Largent) went down with a knee injury — we don’t know the extent of that yet,” Gipson said. “It was a situation where we had undesirable matchups most of the time. We did a good job on everybody else.”

ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan remained in the locker room late after the game and was unavailable for comment.

Northeastern’s road trip continues Saturday at West Texas A&M, while the Hounds host Central Oklahoma in a 4 p.m. crossover game.