ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon big men took it upon themselves to make sure Southeastern University returned to Florida with its first loss.
Eric Thompson and David Sturner were unflappable on both ends of the floor in the fourth-ranked Raiders' 91-81 Flagship Inn Classic triumph against the Fire on Saturday night at Bob Riehm Arena, helping the SOU men improve to 8-1 for its best start in eight years.
Thompson poured in 29 points, going 12-for-22 from the floor with four assists, and did a stellar job while frequently getting switched on to Fire guard Dwayne Johnson defensively. Johnson entered the game averaging 22 points but went 4-for-18 from the field with six turnovers.
Sturner provided more of the same, going for 21 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for his third consecutive double-double and sixth of the season. Jeff Bush, along with helping to quiet Johnson, tallied nine assists to bring his total to 31 over the last three games.
Johnson still totaled 16 points and 10 assists for the Southeastern (5-1 overall), which is a member of the Sun Conference and located in Lakeland, Fla. Timothy Mitchell, the leading rebounder in the nation, eclipsed his season average by six points with 28 to go with nine boards.
The Fire took a 25-17 lead midway through the first half on Johnson's fastbreak layup, but a 27-8 SOU run to end the half ensued. The Raiders took the lead, 30-28, when Tim Weber found Bush for an easy bucket, and never trailed again.
With six seconds left in the period another Bush layup extended the lead to nine, and Sturner intercepted Southeastern's inbound pass and floated it in at the buzzer.
The Fire never got closer than seven in the second half. Thompson's 3-pointer gave SOU its biggest lead at 77-57 with 7:24 remaining.
Weber was just shy of a triple double, recording nine rebounds, eight assists, seven points, two blocks and two steals for the Raiders. Kyle Tedder added 13 points.
The Raiders shot 52.2 percent (35-for-67) and held Southeastern to a 35.2-percent clip (25-for-71).
SOUTHERN OREGON 102, NORTHWEST INDIAN COLLEGE 43 — At Ashland, Northwest Indian College became the second team to get roughed up by Southern Oregon in as many nights in the Flagship Inn Classic.
The Raiders (9-1 overall) scored a 59-point win against the Eagles — SOU's second time reaching triple digits this season — as Brenna Anderson notched a season-best 15 points and Demi Sahlinger took advantage of a rare start with nine points and nine assists at Bob Riehm Arena.
Cambie Edwards recorded the first double-double of her career off the bench with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Tiani Bradford (14 points), Carly Meister (12) and Kristen Schoenherr (10) also pitched in.
The Raiders, who have won their last five, made 36 of 57 attempts from the field. They outscored the Eagles 53-14 in the second half with 28 of those points coming in transition.
Northwest Indian was forced in 31 turnovers and shot 26 percent (13-for-50). Jolene Nagy led the way with 18 points and Sarah Tom had 12.
Kristin Smeaton contributed nine points and four steals off the bench for Southern Oregon and Kiara Moore came in with 10 rebounds and seven points in 17 minutes.
The Raiders are off until opening Cascade Conference play next Friday and Saturday at Bob Riehm Arena against Concordia and Warner Pacific.