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Home arrow Opinion arrow Eastern men fall in semis, will await at-large bid

Eastern men fall in semis, will await at-large bid

by CASEY KELLAS / The Observer

The third-seeded Southern Oregon University men’s basketball team upset second-seeded Eastern Oregon, 89-71, Saturday night in the semifinals of the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament.

The win, coupled with Warner Pacific’s victory over Northwest (63-58) Saturday night, gives the Raiders the CCC’s second automatic bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament, while EOU will wait for an at-large bid. 

“We just didn’t give a very good effort tonight, and Southern deserved to win,” EOU head coach Isaac Williams said.

The Raiders jumped out to a 16-6 lead early in the first half. Eastern Oregon responded with an 11-2 run to cut it to 18-17 before tying the game at 20-all with 8:08 left in the opening half.

But Southern Oregon used a 10-0 run to take a 10-point lead at 30-20 before eventually holding a 42-34 lead at halftime.

“We talked about not letting them get on big runs,” SOU head coach Brian McDermott said. “We wanted to hold them to those six or eight-point runs. They’re an explosive scoring team. But I thought we did a good job of that.”

The Raiders continued to stifle the Mountaineer offense in the second half, as EOU got within six points only twice, the second time coming at the 10:11 mark.

Other than that, Southern Oregon kept a comfortable lead and never allowed EOU to get within striking distance.

This is the second time the Raiders have defeated the Mountaineers this season.

“They were just good on offense and we weren’t very good on defense. They were good on defense, and we weren’t good on offense,” Williams said. “It’s not about adjustments. If you don’t play well — we shot (35 percent) for the game and they shot 50 percent. I mean, that’s it.”

Southern Oregon had four players finish in double figures, led by David Sturner’s 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jeff Bush added 20 points, while Eric Thompson had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Tedder chipped in 13 points.

Tony Eackles led the Mountaineers with 17 points, while Trent Roos finished with 12.

SOU shot 50.9 percent from the field for the game, while EOU managed to hit just 35.8 percent of its shots.

With the win, Southern Oregon will travel to play Warner Pacific Tuesday in the CCC championship game. 

The Knights clinched a spot in the national tournament by winning the regular-season championship.

Eastern Oregon will have to wait for an at-large seed, which will be announced
Feb. 27.

The Mountaineers have lost three of their last five games, but Williams said he isn’t concerned with his team’s play heading into the national tournament.

“I’m not in control of at-large bids,” he said.

“We’ll just wait to see who we play and get ready to play them.”

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