OIT Win Keeps Raiders In Conference Title Hunt

Photo by Al Case

There’s no place like home for the Southern Oregon men’s basketball team. Tuesday evening brought a packed crowd – and more importantly, a Raider win. On rivalry night vs Oregon Tech, two late free throws by Ben DeSaulnier secured the 88-84 victory for SOU, as the Raiders moved to 21-5 on the season and 14-2 in CCC play. The win extended their home record to a perfect 11-0, and increased their win streak to six games.

The Raiders were led by their sixth man, Gary Melvin, who had his best game in a SOU uniform, with a career high 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench. Melvin shot a searing 70% from the field, going 7-10 and was 5-7 from the free throw line. His previous season high was 14 points.

The Raider “Big Three” – Jordan West, Ben DeSaulnier, and Joel Spear also turned in significant performances. West, DeSaulnier and Spear went for 18, 17, and 16 points respectively, and accounted for 57.8% of Southern Oregon’s total points.

The win was vital as far as regular season conference title hopes are concerned, as SOU is locked in a ferocious battle with Northwest Christian University. With the win, Southern Oregon remained a game back of first-place NCU, who faces a tough conference matchup with 3rd place Warner Pacific on Saturday night.

The last time the Raiders faced EOU, SOU suffered one of their two conference losses, and forward Jordan West knows just how crucial the upcoming game is. “It’s very important. We went over there, and unfortunately lost that game to them. So we kind of owe them one.”

With a win Saturday, and a NCU loss to Warner Pac the same night, SOU and NCU will be tied for first place. If this happens, next Friday’s matchup against NCU in Eugene will essentially serve as the regular season conference championship, a feat last accomplished for the men in 2004-05.

Senior Jordan West says going out on top and winning the program’s seventh regular season conference title is a priority.  “It’d mean a lot,” said West, “Finishing out a career winning a conference title would be amazing.”