EUGENE, OR.—The Southern Oregon men came into Eugene with one goal—to win a CCC title—and came away empty-handed, at least for the time being. The #12 Northwest Christian University Beacons snapped the #11 Raiders seven-game win streak by virtue of a 85-75 victory, paced by Omar Richards 23 points and 13 rebounds.
The win gives the Beacons their first ever CCC title, but not all hope is lost for SOU. The Raiders can still win a share of the title, with a little help from Oregon Tech. If Southern Oregon wins versus Corban tonight, and Oregon Tech beats NCU on the same night, then the Raiders and Beacons will be co-CCC champions.
CCC player-of-the-year candidate Joel Spear did everything in his power to keep Southern Oregon in the game; he posted a career high of 25 points, in addition to eight rebounds. The other components to the Raiders “Big-Three,” Ben DeSaulnier and Jordan West, chipped in 14 and 12 points respectively.
The Raiders shot an uncharacteristic 39.7% from the field, a far cry from the 51.1% shooting during their seven game win streak. On the flip side, NCU shot the ball well, shooting exactly 50% from the field and 3 point range. Head coach Brian McDermott, for one, was surprised by the Beacons’ hot shooting as well as their physicality.
“They shot the ball really well, much better than we thought would happen … They took us out of our stuff. They were real physical, and the way it was officiated, it was going to be a physical game, and they were more physical than us.”
Although the loss sets the Raiders a game back of the Beacons in the conference, Coach McDermott’s confidence in his squad isn’t shaken. “I like our team. I’ve liked them all year,” he said, ”When we step on the floor, I have a lot of faith in our guys.”
That confidence is shared between the coaches and players alike. “Moving forward, we’re going to come back,” Spear said following the game. “And we’re going to win some games.”
That mindset could be key as the Raiders approach the post-season play. The conference tournament is right around the corner. The national tournament is in a few weeks. This season is far from over.
Follow sports writer Logan Stanley on Twitter @therealYelnats or email firstname.lastname@example.org.