Jan. 16, 2019, Sterling, Colo. — In the conference opener for Region IX South, the Plainsmen hosted the Lamar Lopes in the Bank of Colorado Event Center. The men looked to start off on the right foot by winning against the Lopes. Every game in conference matters for post season seeding, so Northeastern needed to make sure they took advantage of having their first game at home.
Right away at tip-off, it was clear that this game would be physical and played with high energy; something in the air felt good to be a Plainsmen. Both teams were attacking each other's defense, which led to numerous fouls on both ends. Northeastern had great execution on both ends of the floor, which helped them take the 42-27 lead at halftime. In the second, the intensity turned up a notch as both teams found a groove.
In the first 10 minutes of the half, Northeastern dominated in their offense and added to their lead. Lamar wouldn't back down and kept shooting the ball. The Lopes point guard returned in the second half after being in foul trouble in the first, which helped them close the gap in the Plainsmen's lead. Northeastern called a timeout at the nine-minute mark after a made basket by the Lopes brought the game within single digits. Northeastern didn't buckle and kept at what was successful for them: execution on offense and hard work on defense. With five minutes left on the clock, the score read 62-58 with Northeastern holding on to their lead. Double bonus was reached by both teams with less than three minutes left, so both teams were a little more careful on defense, but kept attacking on offense.
The momentum changed in Northeastern's favor when Andrew Ferrin met a Lope defender at the rim, blocked the dunk, then transitioned to offense and got a two-handed dunk of his own. The energy in the building was electric, and only a minute remained in the game with Northeastern leading 68-62. A few fouls and a couple free throws later, the game ended with Northeastern being victorious 72-66.
Northeastern will be back in action on Friday as they host the Western Nebraska Cougars looking to get another win in the region.