Owls slam Raiders
ASHLAND — Ryan Fiegi's homecoming to McNeal Pavilion was a resounding success.
Playing in front of friends and family, the Oregon Tech senior, and former South Medford Standout, scored a game-high 24 points to lead the No. 11 Owls (4-0) to an 85-55 victory over rival Southern Oregon (3-3) on Tuesday in a men's college basketball game.
"I always love coming back to SOU," the 6-foot-7, 212-pound Fiegi said. "I've had some tough games here, but tonight, I don't know what it was. I was feeling good, our team was feeling good. It's always good to come back in front of the hometown crowd.
"It seemed like when we needed a bucket, I was able to get a shot up and they were going in tonight. I know it's early in the season, but we're feeling good, and any time you blow out a rival by 30 points, it feels really good."
Fiegi, a second-team NAIA All-American a year ago, is averaging 17.3 points per game so far this season and was dazzling Tuesday night, showing off an array of skills. He was 60 percent shooting from the field, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out a team-high six assists for OIT, which was picked to finish second in the Cascade Conference preseason poll.
"Fiegi's a tough matchup for anyone in the country at our level," SOU head coach Brian McDermott said. "You've got to live with that.
"He's long, he can shoot the 3, he handles it like a 6-foot kid, he can post you up, and he's smart. He's got everything you want in a player."
OIT, behind 12 points from Fiegi, led 42-25 at the break and SOU was unable to cut the second-half deficit to less than 15 before it ballooned to the final margin of 30 in a foul-riddled second half.
The Raiders, led by junior forward Ryon Pool's 10 points, shot 35.8 percent for the game — to 52.7 percent for OIT — and were outrebounded 44-24.
SOU entered the game winners of three straight but quickly fell in a hole 7-0 at the start and never held a lead in the contest.
"They (the Owls) ran an offense and we didn't," McDermott said. "They execute very well. They know what they are looking for. Right now, we don't."
OIT built its lead with the effective duo of Fiegi and junior post Christian Cavanaugh, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds but also showed his ability as a passer.
Junior post Josh Wetzler was the only other Owl in double figures with 10 points. South Medford graduates Myles Daley and Brent Johnson, both sophomore forwards, played significant minutes. Daley scored nine points in 22 minutes while Johnson had six points in 16 minutes.
Sophomore post Jason Nunnemaker and junior forward David Grant finished with eight points each for the Raiders.
SOU is a young squad, consisting of just two seniors in post/forward Matt Pizzola and guard Matt Cowell. The Raiders return three starters and six letterwinners from last season's squad, which finished 12-18 and in seventh place at 5-13 in conference play.
Tuesday showed there's still much work to be done.
"We're trying to get better," McDermott said. "If I thought that was as good as we were going to play, I'd probably get a plane ticket out of here. We'll do our tweaks and adjustments and get better."
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