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SOU men, women host games this weekend

ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon men's basketball team looks to rebound from a recent 1-2 stretch with a pair of Cascade Conference home games against College of Idaho on Friday and No. 25 Eastern Oregon on Saturday at Bob Riehm Arena.

Southern Oregon (13-7, 6-3 CC) is tied with Eastern Oregon for fourth place in the conference standings midway through the season.

College of Idaho (6-14 overall) ranks ninth in the conference at 1-8 record.

The Coyotes are averaging 66.8 points per game and third in the conference in blocks (3.4 per game) and opponent shooting percentage (.408).

Matt Ballenger ranks fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.0 points per game, and he ranks fourth in steals (2.35) and 13th in assists (3.05). College of Idaho has lost 10 of its last 12 games.

Southern Oregon staged a 22-point comeback to win the first meeting between the teams this season, defeating the Yotes 64-61 in Caldwell last month.

Eastern Oregon is tied for fourth in the CC with a 6-3 record, 13-5 overall. The Mountaineers are averaging 83.9 points per game and have outscored opponents by an average of 13.8 points. They rank fifth in the NAIA in rebounding margin (plus 10.6) and sixth in overall rebounding (43.1 per game).

Jamar Johnson ranks 10th in the conference in scoring (14.0 points per game) with Travares Peterson 12th (13.1) and Trent Roos 14th (13.0). Ervin Felder leads the conference in rebounding (8.2) and ranks fifth in field goal percentage (.592).

Eastern Oregon has won four of its last five games.

Against SOU, Eastern Oregon has won 12 of the last 13 meetings over the past five years, including the last eight.

In the teams' first meeting this season, the Raiders overcame a double-digit deficit in the final two minutes to force overtime before falling 88-82 to then-No. 23 EOU in La Grande last month.

Southern Oregon averages 76.1 points per game. The Raiders rank second in the CC and seventh in the NAIA in free throw percentage (.739), and SOU's .470 field goal percentage ranks third in the conference.

Raider Eric Thompson averages 20.2 points per game to lead the CC and rank 11th in the nation, and he also is second in the league in rebounding, averaging 7.8 per game, and ranks second in free throw percentage (.850).

Jordan Highland ranks eighth in the CC with a 57.4 shooting percentage (89-for-155) and is averaging 12.1 points per game, while Terriel Thomas ranks eighth in the conference in rebounding (6.9).

Southern Oregon also hosts College of Idaho on Friday and No. 10 Eastern Oregon on Saturday.

Southern Oregon (12-8, 3-6 CC) is tied with Concordia for seventh in the standings.

College of Idaho (11-7, 6-3 CC) is tied for fourth. The Coyotes average 67.2 points per game and rank third in rebounding margin (plus 5.6) and blocks (4.0).

"They've kind of changed they're approach this year," SOU head coach Lynn Kennedy said of the Yotes. "They're more aggressive in the half-court defensively, one of the best defensive teams as far as pressuring the ball, getting up in the half court. In the past they've been a full-court defensive team and they've really changed that this year, and it's shown in really the scoring margin and what they're giving up defensively."

Felicity Jones leads C of I in scoring, averaging 12.3 points per game, with four other players averaging between 8 and 10 points per contest.

College of Idaho has won five of its last seven games and beat SOU 63-56 in Caldwell on Dec. 17.

Eastern Oregon (15-4) is ranked 10th in the NAIA and is tied for first in the CC at 7-2.

The Mountaineers lead the conference in scoring (72.7 points per game) and scoring margin (plus 16.3) and are second in scoring defense (56.4).

Brooke Randall them in scoring, averaging 11.8 points per game.

Eastern Oregon won this season's first meeting, 80-51, in La Grande.

Southern Oregon ranks sixth in the conference in scoring (68.3) and eighth in opponents' scoring (65.3). The Raiders lead the conference and rank second in the nation with an average of 46.7 rebounds per game, and their 11.2 steals per game leads the CC.

Haley Newell heads SOU scorers with an average of 11.8 points per game, with Josi McDermott right behind at 10.6.

Nalani Hernandez is the Raiders' top rebounder with 7.2 per contest, an average that ranks sixth in the conference.

Southern Oregon football honors were presented at a recent team banquet.

Four Raiders were named to the 2011 NAIA All-Independent first team: offensive lineman Matt Rogers, linebacker Michael Springer, defensive lineman Daniel Breaux and Tyler Crowley, honored for both kicking and punting.

Second-team picks were offensive lineman Zach Urrutia, wide receivers Patrick Donahue and Mike Olson, defensive lineman Telvis Jones, linebacker Justin Akau, defensive back Austin Cantrell and kick returner Patrick Donahue.

Last month, Crowley became SOU's 33rd NAIA All-American.

Team awards were highlighted by quarterback Austin Dodge being named most valuable player, tackle Juwuan Brown outstanding defender, lineman Derek Short outstanding offensive performer and Breaux the rookie of the year. Running back Brandon Baldwin received the Stan and Tommie Smith Character, Strength and Honor Award.