Raider Men Look to Lock Up Home Tourney Game
ASHLAND – The 21st-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team will look to finalize its position in the Cascade Collegiate Conference standings this weekend, hosting Corban and Northwest Christian to close out the 2012-13 regular season with a home conference tournament game on the line.
Thursday, February 14 2013, 06:30 PM CST
Southern Oregon, 20-8 overall and 11-5 in conference play, is currently in line for the third seed in the postseason conference tournament. Eastern Oregon (14-2) and Warner Pacific (13-3) have essentially locked up the top two seeds, with SOU, College of Idaho (10-6), Northwest (10-7) and Concordia (9-7) battling for the final two hosting spots.
The Raiders hold the tiebreakers over Northwest and Concordia for a two-way tie, while College of Idaho's games this weekend will determine the Coyotes' tiebreaking rank. Three-way ties become more convoluted, but with two fewer losses than both Northwest and Concordia a single win this weekend clinches at least the fourth seed and a home game for the Raiders. The CCC Tournament begins Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the top four teams hosting seeds five through eight.
“We've got our work cut out for us, but we know it's a big weekend for us and can get us into that third slot pretty solidly,” SOU head coach Brian McDermott said. “Hopefully if we can take care of a little business there it might move us up a little bit in the rankings, which would help us in our opportunities to try to get to the national tournament.”
The regular season's final home weekend will feature several festivities beyond the games on the court. Friday night's matchup against Corban will be Breast Cancer Awareness Night at SOU, while Saturday will be Senior Night. Prior to the men's game at 7:30 p.m. a Senior Night ceremony will honor seniors Taylor Roos (Salem, Ore./Sprague) and Terriel Thomas (Boise, Idaho/Borah), along with the four seniors on the women's team.
Friday will be SOU's second Breast Cancer Awareness event of the 2012-13 academic year. The Raiders hosted an event during the volleyball season and will also host one during the upcoming softball season. As part of the events, SOU Athletics will donate a portion of the paid admission to the Sister Therese Kohles Fund. The fund is a charitable mammography fund administered by the Leila J. Eisenstein Breast Center at Providence, the region's only Breast Center of Excellence as designated by the American College of Radiology. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to Friday's games and will have a chance to donate to the fund.
After a mid-season swoon led to four losses in five games, Southern Oregon has gotten back on track with four consecutive wins. Last weekend, the Raiders picked up a key 80-73 road win against Northwest before following with a 75-56 victory over Evergreen.
With 16 conference games in the books, the Raiders lead the CCC in scoring (77.4 per game), shooting percentage (.473), three-point percentage (.397), assists (16.9) and three-point defense (.283). They also rank second in opponents' shooting percentage (.394) and third in scoring margin ( 5.4 per game).
Kyle Tedder (Coos Bay, Ore./Marshfield) has been on fire from three-point range, making a league-high 52 during the conference season while shooting 44.1 percent from long range. That has translated to a team-best 15.3 points per game that ranks fifth in the conference with Eric Thompson (Roseburg, Ore./Roseburg) ranking eighth (14.5) and David Sturner (Philomath, Ore./Philomath) ranking 11th (13.0). Sturner ranks second in rebounding, averaging a double-double with 10.4 boards per game. Jeff Bush (West Linn, Ore./West Linn) ranks third in assists (5.2) and second in assist/turnover ratio (2.2).
Corban and Northwest Christian have both struggled this season and will come to town as two of the bottom three teams in the conference standings. The Warriors are tied with Oregon Tech for seventh with a 5-11 record, 9-16 overall, while the Beacons have a 9-19 overall record, 3-13 in conference play.
The two teams rank ninth and 10th in scoring, with Corban averaging 63.4 points per game and Northwest Christian tallying 62.1. Josiah Sebens leads the Warriors in scoring (11.9), followed by Andrew Evans (11.3), and Sebens is one of the top three-point shooters in the conference. He has made 34 shots from beyond the arc in 15 conference games while connecting on 44.7 percent of his attempts.
“They've changed their lineup around and finally gotten comfortable,” McDermott said of Corban. “They're doing a lot of pick-and-roll stuff and shooting a lot of threes. They're one of those dangerous teams because they shoot a lot of threes and they can sure make a lot of threes.”
Jordan Buhler (12.9) and Trevor Parker (12.8) lead Northwest Christian in scoring. The Beacons have lost 15 of their last 17 games, but one of those wins was a 64-57 road win over College of Idaho two weeks ago. McDermott knows they can present a difficult challenge and will not be an easy win.
“Almost every night, they're in it right to the end,” McDermott said. “That's obviously a dangerous team, when you know that only one or two possessions can change the outcome.”
The Raiders opened the conference season with a pair of road wins over these two teams. Southern Oregon knocked off Northwest Christian in a 71-69 overtime contest on Nov. 30 and pummeled Corban 71-45 the following night in Salem.