The Southern Oregon men’s basketball team won one more game in the NAIA tournament than the women, advancing to the Elite 8 before eventually losing to Embry-Riddle University on Saturday 71-79. In Friday’s Sweet 16 game, SOU outlasted Grace University 68-62.
Grace University led the game 24-14 at one point and led 39-35 at half-time as a result of a 16-31 shooting first half. They cooled down in the second half, only going 8-24. SOU’s first lead of the game came with 11 minutes remaining at 50-49 and their biggest lead was with 6 minutes remaining at 59-53.
The Royals fought back, but a pair of Jordan West free throws and a technical on Grace followed by more free throws sealed the SOU win. Jordan West followed up his first round game-winner with a career-high 32 points on 13-21 shooting with 4 rebounds. Tim Weber finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Eric Thompson had 11 points and 5 rebounds. In the game, Thompson hit his 278th career three-pointer, which broke Kyle Todder’s school record set last season. As a result of the game, SOU set a school record with 26 wins.
Grace was led by Caleb Featherston’s 13 points. Logan Irwin and Chad Hoffer had 12 points each.
In Saturday’s Elite 8 game, SOU wasn’t able to slow down Embry-Riddle’s inside presence, losing 79-71. 6’8” Cesar Pastrana finished with 26 points on 9-13 shooting.
Thompson’s three-pointer with 8:46 gave SOU their biggest lead at 59-55. That’s when the game changed. Riddle then went on a 14-1 run, scoring on 7 of their next 8 possessions, taking a 9 point lead with 4:09 remaining. The Raider’s fought back, but never got closer than four points.
Embry-Riddle was led by Pastrana, and Dalton Barnes and DeForest Carter each had 14 points. The main disadvantage the Raiders had was in the paint and rebounds. The Eagles had a 46-18 paint advantage and outscored SOU in second-chance points 17-6.
Thompson led the Raiders with 26 points on 5-8 threes. Fellow senior Weber finished his SOU career with 9 points, 3 assists, and 6 rebounds. DeSaulnier added 12 points and West scored 10.
3-time All-American Thompson finished his career as SOU’s all-time leading scorer at 2,465 points. Weber broke the single-season assist record with 281. Thompson and Weber were both named to the 12-person All-Cascade Conference team, with West receiving honorable mention.
Seniors Thompson and Weber, junior Joel Spear, and redshirt-sophomore Justin Martin were also named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes, which is given to athletes with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and junior or senior academic status.
Thompson and Weber end their 4 year careers as SOU’s winningest players with 90 wins.
Coach McDermott said of his seniors, “They’ve been a joy. I’m just really really fortunate. They’re two kids that do everything the right way. I’m just really happy I was able to coach them for 4 years.”