The Southern Oregon men’s basketball team avenged two previous regular season defeats against Warner Pacific College in the conference semifinals on Saturday. As a result of the 81-66 victory, the Raiders advanced to Tuesday’s conference championship game against the College of Idaho.
In the first half, WPC came out to an early 6 point lead, but SOU battled back to take the lead with 8 minutes remaining in the half. After taking the lead, the Raiders extended it to 41-30 at halftime. They were guided by Jordan West and Eric Thompson in the half, scoring 10 and 11 points respectively.
The Raiders never relinquished the lead after taking it in the first half. WPC made a few runs and got as close as 6 points, but weren’t able to overcome the Raiders’ relentless scoring. For the game, the Knights were lead by Doug Thomas’ 17 points and Coletun Tarr’s 10. Early Jones, who lit up the Raiders just a couple weeks ago for 27 points also contributed with 14 points, but had 9 turnovers. SOU had a balanced attack, with 4 players scoring over 14 points. Eric Thompson had 19 with 7 rebounds, Jordan West had 15 and 7 rebounds, Ben DeSaulnier had 15, and Tim Weber had 14 with 7 assists.
According to the SOU Raider Athletic page, coach Brian McDermott said of the game, “Nearly flawless execution of a pretty good game plan. And we had great composure from start to finish.”
Last Wednesday, the Raiders advanced to the WPC game by winning an action-packed double overtime game against Northwest Christian University. NCU hit multiple shots in the final minute of regulation to send the game to overtime, and ran out to a 7 point lead in overtime. The Raiders overcame the deficit and ultimately won in double overtime.
The Raiders weren’t able to complete the comeback in Wednesday’s conference championship game against the College of Idaho, losing 79-86. Although they didn’t win the conference championship and earn an automatic bid to the NAIA tournament, there is still a reasonable chance the Raiders will receive an at-large bid to compete in the 32-team tournament. Seeding for the tournament will come out on Wednesday.
According to the SOU Raider Athletic page, McDermott said of the NCU thrilling win, “I think that shows we may have a little more toughness than what it may appear sometimes. That’s a big deal.” If the Raiders ultimately get into the NAIA tournament, hopefully they can channel this toughness and be successful.