ATHERTON, Calif. — Southern Oregon may not yet possess the finishing ability of its recent predecessors, but the Raiders took a step in the right direction Friday afternoon while scoring their highest-quality win of the young season at Menlo's Bud Presley Classic.
Freshman post Jordan Hunt poured in a season-high 20 points with nine rebounds, three blocks and three steals to help SOU pull off a 72-66 upset Westmont (Calif.), ranked 12th at the NAIA Division I level. The Raiders went 9-of-10 at the free-throw line in the final 90 seconds, and Ben DeSaulnier drilled the last four to finish with 15 points and four assists.
Tristen Holmes had 14 points and three steals, while Conor Carroll scored 10 points off the bench as the Raiders improved to 5-2 going into Saturday's 4 p.m. game against Menlo.
The Warriors (5-1) — who won their first five games by an average of 22 points, knocked off NCAA Division II squad Concordia-Irvine on Tuesday, and were shooting 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range when the day began — were held to a 39-percent clip (22-of-57) and went 7-of-27 from downtown.
SOU led 36-33 at halftime, but the lead switched hands 14 times throughout the game.
SOU took control for good when, trailing 47-46 with 9:09 remaining, Justin Martin started an 11-0 run with a deep 3-pointer from the wing. With 6:50 left, Holmes came up with a steal and dumped off to Tate Hoffman for a layup, making it 57-47.
The Warriors got back within two, 60-58, when Sean Harman's steal turned into an Olisa Nwachie baseline dunk with 2:57 left. Hunt provided the answer, though, with his second 3-pointer of the game at the other end. The Raiders took care of the rest at the free-throw line.
They wrapped up at 45 percent from the field (25-of-56) after going 15-of-29 in the first half. They had 13 turnovers, but just five were committed in the second half.
Westmont became the highest-ranked opponent SOU has defeated since the 2014-15 national tournament. The Raiders had lost four straight in the series — their most recent win was during the 1959-60 season — including last year's matchup at Menlo, 84-82, when a last-second shot rimmed off.
Hoffman chipped in all six of his points in the second half and had four rebounds.
Corey Blau led four Warriors in double figures with 16 points, and Nwachie had 13 points and 12 rebounds.