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Fiegi leads Owls into title tilt

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. — Oregon Tech is one win away from its second national championship in five seasons.

Led by Ryan Fiegi's 30 points, the 11th-seeded Hustlin' Owls dispatched No. 2-seeded MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 74-71 Monday night to move into tonight's NAIA Division II final against top-seeded Bellevue (Neb.). Bellevue defeated Northwestern (Iowa) 70-67 in the other semifinal.

Fiegi is a graduate of South Medford High.

The title game, a rematch of the 2004 championship, will be televised live by CSTV, beginning at 6:30 p.m. PST.

It marks the third title-game appearance for the Hustlin' Owls, who finished second in 1998 and defeated Bellevue to win the crown in 2004.

The championship game will also be streamed live over the Internet at www.cstv.com. Audio of the game, provided by OIT broadcasters Bobby Thompson and Mike Garrard, can be accessed at www.oitsports.com.

The Pioneers (31-5), who trailed the entire second half, had a chance to tie the game with 7.6 seconds remaining, but Danny Hawkins, who had a game-high 31 points, made just one of two free throws to pull MidAmerica Nazarene within one, 72-71.

After OIT broke the press and scored on a layup by Mike Nierath to go up by three, 74-71, a last-second 3-point attempt by MidAmerica Nazarene's Adam Hepker was off the mark, setting off a wild celebration on the OIT bench and in the stands among the few hundred Owls supporters in attendance.

Like he has the entire tournament, Fiegi carried most of the offensive load for the Hustlin' Owls (30-6), hitting 11 of 22 field goal attempts and 3 of 5 attempts from beyond the arc. He also had four assists.

OIT's bench was led by eight points each from Myles Daley and Ryan Beesley. Daley is also a South Medford alum.