The Raiders ran lay-up lines as the student section began to fill. Riehm Arena buzzed with excitement. Fans filtered up and down the bleachers with nachos and popcorn in-hand. “These Ain’t Loyal” blared from the speakers. Menlo followed suit, dribbling up and down the court passing balls to one another, and somehow managing to get both of their warm up balls wedged between the back-board and shot clock. The Raiders could be seen shooting three-pointers and running drills confidently on the other side of the court. Their shots nearly all perfect, it was clear that the Raiders have been practicing hard this pre-season. A Swiffer sweeper was used to retrieve Menlo’s balls.
One night after handily defeating New Hope, the 17th-ranked Raiders didn’t let their foot off the gas pedal against Menlo. The main storylines for the night were the Raiders relentlessly attacking Menlo’s shaky zone defense from the perimeter, as well as SOU’s defense answering the call. Numbers can’t always tell the whole story, but in this case, they can tell quite a bit of it. The shooting percentages for each team speak for themselves, as SOU shot 52% from the field, and were able to limit the Oaks to just 27% shooting overall.
The mustached, lanky, 6-foot-8, jack-of-all-trades, guard Tim Weber orchestrated the offensive attack by handing out 11 assists. It appeared as if the Menlo Oaks would be able to keep pace for a brief period in the first half, when they pulled ahead 21-18, but the Raider’s offense began firing on all cylinders, and didn’t stop until the buzzer sounded.
At the half, The Raiders were up 42-30, thanks in large part to Eric Thompson’s 21 first half points. Thompson would finish with a game-high 29 points to lead the Raiders, also making five of his six attempts from three-point land. After the half, SOU kept attacking on the offensive end, and kept playing the same pesky defense. The team didn’t skip a beat after the break, and even increased the offensive output, ending with a final score of 85-61.
The aforementioned mustached magician stuffed the stat sheet with 11 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, and a steal to go along with 5 points of his own. Thompson added 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist, and a steal to go along with his 29 points. Jacob Kaler chipped in with 11 points, and sharpshooter Justin Martin came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers while dishing out a pair of assists as well.
The Raiders (2-0) will next face Simpson at home on Tuesday night, at 7:30.