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MailTribune.com
  • McDermott closing in on SOU's all-time wins mark

  • ASHLAND — With two weeks and four games remaining in the regular season the 24th-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team has a chance to cross one milestone off its list and move closer to another against Northwest and Evergreen.
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  • ASHLAND — With two weeks and four games remaining in the regular season the 24th-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team has a chance to cross one milestone off its list and move closer to another against Northwest and Evergreen.
    Southern Oregon's next win will be the 242nd of head coach Brian McDermott's SOU career, which will move him past Ted Schopf for sole possession of the program coaching record. McDermott tied Schopf atop the leaderboard with his 241st win on Saturday as the Raiders knocked off archrival Oregon Tech for the third time this season.
    The Raiders, 18-8 overall and 9-5 in Cascade Collegiate Conference play, currently rank third in the CCC standings. With the top four teams at the end of the regular season set to host first-round CCC Tournament contests, SOU is currently in line to host its first conference tourney game since 2006.
    "We're hanging in there right now," McDermott said. "We're in that three-four spot for a home game, and that's one of our goals to get that home game. Another would be to keep ourselves ranked in the top 25, which would lead to a good possibility of an at-large bid for the national tournament. Those are some of the goals that we have, and this weekend will have a lot to do with whether we can accomplish those goals."
    While Southern Oregon controls its own fate in the quest for a first-round home game, the Raiders have a very slim margin of error in the final four games. Southern Oregon owns a half-game lead over Northwest and College of Idaho, with Friday's upcoming game against Northwest serving to either give SOU a bit of a buffer zone or help the Eagles jump the Raiders in the standings.
    Northwest has struggled recently, dropping its past four games to fall out of the latest NAIA poll. But the Eagles come into Friday's matchup having already defeated the Raiders 82-73 on Jan. 12 in Ashland. Another Northwest win would give the Eagles the regular-season sweep and the tiebreaker over SOU in the standings.
    "It couldn't be a bigger game the way things have worked out," McDermott said. "We're still in there fighting for that first round home game in the playoffs, and this is a huge game that would take us a long way towards getting that."
    Following Friday's game, Southern Oregon will close out the regular season with games against the bottom three teams in the conference standings. Evergreen has won only one conference game this year, knocking off Northwest Christian 74-64 on Dec. 18.
    Since that win, Evergreen has lost 12 straight games to fall to 1-14 in conference play and 2-21 overall. The Geoducks' -11.4 average scoring margin is the worst in the league, and they allow a league-high .457 opponent shooting percentage.
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