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  • SOU men open nationals vs. 14th-ranked Madonna

  • ASHLAND — The 18th-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team will take on 14th-ranked Madonna, Mich., Wednesday at 4 p.m. CST (2 p.m. Pacific) in a NAIA Division II first round matchup, the NAIA announced Wednesday.
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  • ASHLAND — The 18th-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team will take on 14th-ranked Madonna, Mich., Wednesday at 4 p.m. CST (2 p.m. Pacific) in a NAIA Division II first round matchup, the NAIA announced Wednesday.
    Southern Oregon, which fell 67-63 to No. 12 Warner Pacific in the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament championship game Tuesday night, heads into the tournament with a 24-9 record. The Raiders will face a Madonna team that will be making its first championship tournament appearance after winning the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament.
    Madonna (24-8) has won its last nine games, including a 72-58 victory over ninth-ranked Davenport in the WHAC championship game.
    "They're really good defensively," SOU head coach Brian McDermott said of the Crusaders. "They've got a couple pretty good shooters and their point guard is really good at getting to the basket, shoots a ton of free throws. They're not a big, physical team. They're long, but they're not big and physical."
    The winner of the Southern Oregon-Madonna game will have a day off on Thursday before returning to the court for a Friday night game against either No. 3 Northwood or the unranked hosts, College of the Ozarks.
    SOU's quarter of the 32-team bracket also includes sixth-ranked Saint Xavier, Ill., (28-5) and 11th-ranked Indiana Southeast (27-4).
    Following SOU's run to the CCC championship game, the Raiders retained their 18th spot in the final NAIA regular season poll, which was released Wednesday morning.
    Fellow CCC programs Warner Pacific, Eastern Oregon and Northwest also earned bids to the NAIA Tournament. Fifth-ranked Warner Pacific will take on Dakota State on Thursday at 9:15 p.m., eight-ranked Eastern Oregon will face Midland on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. and 23rd-ranked Northwest will take on 10th-ranked Dordt on Thursday at 10:15 a.m.
    The Raiders have won eight games in a row prior to Tuesday's setback, which was decided in the final seconds.
    "We played well up there, we just didn't shoot very well," McDermott said. "We weren't the freshest group. But we played hard, we defended. We just didn't shoot well."
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