A long holiday break; a blessing and a curse. It is a time to see old friends, be around loved ones, and take a break from the monotony of the stresses that being a college student-athlete brings. With all the positives of having that time off brings the inevitable of being a couch potato and eating a lot of food, which typically tends to be unhealthy in nature. The Plainsmen coaching staff knew that they needed that week back leading up to the games to get the boys back into playing shape and get them accustomed to playing with each other again. Although it would be a task that is never fun to tackle, they knew once back into shape that the boys had a chance at taking the sweep at home versus the Rattlers and Lopes.
In the first game against the Rattlers, the Plainsmen knew they had to work through their kinks towards the beginning of the game and had to ride it out. Both teams seemed to be in a groove as the game would hover between a one-point game with each team taking the lead respectively. At the four minute mark however, the Rattlers would get a few extra stops and capitalize on the Plainsmen's mistakes and go on a 14-4 run to end the half. The Rattlers would lead the Plainsmen by 10 with a score of 45-35.
In the second half, either team had a chance because with the holiday blues now out of their system could catch fire and dominate the half. The second half would start with each team exchanging points for the first five minutes, and then would follow with the Rattlers gaining a slightly larger lead. Northeastern would however try to make up some of the points, but Otero would stand solid defensively and hinder any major runs. As the final shot would be tossed at the hoop at the end of the game, the Rattlers would defeat the Plainsmen 92-70.
With that game out of their system, the Plainsmen had to regroup for the game the next day against the Lamar CC Lopes. Having a short-term memory would prove to be their greatest asset going into this game. Being another Region IX conference game, the Plainsmen knew they could not drop two at home, so they at least needed to get a split.
Both teams would be evenly matched, and it was apparent at the beginning of the game as the score would basically be a tie with leads flip flopping all the way up until the seven-minute mark. With the score tied at 19, Northeastern would pour on the points by going on a 19-7 run to end the half now leading 38-26. At halftime, the Plainsmen knew they needed to keep playing the way they know how to keep them at bay and not become lackadaisical to allow them back into the game. The Lopes were capable of going on a run of their own, it would be Northeastern's job to ride it out and allow it to be as minimal as possible.
To begin the second half, the teams would exchange points back and forth up until the 10 minute mark, and then the Lopes would go on a little run and bring it within nine points. But the Plainsmen did their job because when the Lopes got that close, there was less than a minute to play. Northeastern would come away with the victory with a score of 74-67 over the Lopes.
The men will be on the road to play the North Platte Knights on Wednesday January 10 at 6:30 MST (7:30 CST).