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Oregon Tech puts end to Raiders' season

KLAMATH FALLS -- A remarkable comeback went for naught Wednesday night as No. 10 Oregon Tech held off Southern Oregon for an 84-78 Cascade Collegiate Conference men's basketball playoff victory.

The Raiders just about slipped off the map in the first two minutes of the second half, falling behind by 20 points. But spurred by Amos Baker and Don Guy, Southern Oregon outscored the Owls 40-21 to close within 72-71 with 4 minutes, 55 seconds to play before 1,276 at Miles Court.

It was a game of streaks and we had some pretty good streaks in the first half and they didn't, said Oregon Tech guard Kevin Carlston as he iced his right wrist. We had to weather the storm, stop some streaks and come down and get a good shot.

Oregon Tech finally stopped the bleeding and finished off the Raiders by hitting 8 of 12 free throws in the final 4:37.

We were looking for one more big play, said Amos Baker, who tossed in a season-high 17 points to lead four Raiders in double figures. We'd almost got them on defense. The shot clock would run down and then at the end, they'd make a big play and we couldn't catch them.

Oregon Tech (22-9) travels to Nampa, Idaho, on Saturday for a second-round game against Northwest Nazarene (23-8), a 90-69 winner over Northwest College. Northwest Nazarene is unbeaten at home and defeated Oregon Tech, 79-62, Jan. 10 at Nampa.

Southern Oregon, the sixth seed in the conference playoffs, finished the season 15-18 -- a remarkable turn-around from last year's two-win season.

Defense is what got us back into the game, second-year Southern Oregon coach Brian McDermott said. We didn't give them the same looks at the basket they had in the first half. They made a lot of tough shots in the second half. In the first half, we didn't have the energy we needed. In the second half, we laid it on the line.

Saif Abdur-Rahman buried a shot from the right corner with 18:30 left in the game to make it 51-31. But the Raiders didn't keel over, they simply got more aggressive on defense.

Southern Oregon still trailed 64-48 when Chris Maerz scored on a lay-in with 11:29. Then Scott Logue ignited a 9-0 run that Baker capped with a 3-pointer from the right corner after a helter-skelter scramble down the court.

After Greg Regan hit two free throws to make it 72-63 with 6:50 to play, the Raiders reeled off eight straight points -- four by Baker, two free throws from Dave Arbow and Guy's shot from the lane.

The Owls got another free throw from Regan and then Southern Oregon proceeded to miss lay-ins its next two trips down the floor and missed two shots the third time down. Abdur-Rahman countered with a bucket in the lane.

After a time out, Carlston delivered what may have been the pivotal basket of the game, driving the baseline for a lay-in on the inbounds play.

We were going to run something else, but they overplayed me and I just took it in, Carlston said. It probably looked planned, but it wasn't.

Southern Oregon responded with Tom Chipps' three-point play, but the Owls countered with free throws by Bob Townsend and Josh Woodson to extend the gap to 80-74.

Chipps converted one-more three-point play when he wriggled into the key and twisted up a jumper and got fouled with 1:14. But the Raiders couldn't keep the Owls from killing time off the clock.

I thought they made a great run and did a great job of getting back in the game, Oregon Tech coach Dan Miles said. They had our kids on the ropes, but we hung in there.

The Owls were 6-for-11 from the 3-point line in the first half, led by Maerz's 4-for-6 performance behind the arch. Carlston was particularly effective as OIT built its 16-point halftime advantage, scoring on a pair of lay-ins and then draining two 3-pointers from the right wing.

The Raiders made a lot of head way in McDermott's second year. They were 2-29 last season.

Southern Oregon last appeared in the district playoffs in 1990, losing to Western Baptist, 78-71, in the first round. The last time the Raiders won a playoff game was in 1983 when they defeated Eastern Oregon.

Obviously we would've liked to have done it all in one year, but we jumped over some big hurdles, McDermott said. We still have a few left.

SOUTHERN OREGON (15-18)

Arbow 7, Lacy 4, Francis 0, Chipps 14, Valley 12, Haynes 3, Guy 10, Baker 17, Carroll 0, Schmerbach 2, Logue 8. Totals: 29-58 16-26 77.

OREGON TECH (22-9)

Carlston 19, Regan 8, Abdur-Rahman 10, Townsend 7, Foster 16, Maerz 16, Woodson 2, Conrad 6, Kaiser 0, Bruner 0, Hammericksen 0. Totals: 30-57 18-24.

Halftime score -- Oregon Tech 45, Southern Oregon 29. 3-point goals -- Southern Oregon 3-10 (Arbow 0-2, Francis 0-1, Chipps 1-3, Haynes 1-1, Guy 0-1, Baker 1-1, Schmerbach 0-1. Oregon Tech 6-12 (Carlston 2-3, Maerz 4-6, Woodson 0-2, Conrad 0-1). Rebounds -- Southern Oregon 29, Oregon Tech 35. Fouled out -- Chipps.