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Raider women end four-year drought at OIT

KLAMATH FALLS — In a game fueled by big swings, the last one went in favor of the 14th-ranked Southern Oregon women's basketball team for an 89-78 win over Oregon Tech on Saturday night at Danny Miles Court.

After watching all of a 12-point halftime lead evaporate as the Owls tied the game at 67-all with 8:05 left, the Raiders took the air out of the gym and sealed their ninth win in 10 games with a decisive 19-2 surge over the next five minutes.

 SOU locked into a first-place tie and improved to 16-2 overall and 7-2 in the Cascade Conference, and will start the second half of circuit play next weekend at College of Idaho and Eastern Oregon. The win was the Raiders' first at OIT — where they lost last season's CCC tournament championship game — since Jan. 15, 2011.

 Raider forward Alexi Smith matched a career-high with 26 points, scoring 20-plus for a second straight game for the first time, and added seven rebounds. Ashley Claussen had 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Kristen Schoenherr added 17 points and seven boards, and both Claussen and Schoenherr knocked down four 3-pointers.

Back-to-back triples by Claussen and Durand were followed by Durand and Brenna Anderson layups near the end of the first frame, capping a 12-0 SOU run that opened the gap for the first time.

The Owls (16-4, 5-3) closed that gap after halftime thanks to 4-for-6 shooting from downtown. Rebekah Matteri's 3-pointer tied it, but Smith's layup seconds later gave the lead back to SOU.

Claussen hit another 3 on SOU's next possession and, after aCourtney West block, Claussen got free for a transition layup that put the Raiders up 74-67 and the momentum on their side.

OIT missed nine of 10 shots during the 19-2 spurt and turned it over once.

The Owls were led by Carrie Thibault, who scored 16 points and made all four of her 3-point tries. Matteri had 15 points and six boards, Karly LeVeque scored 12 and Tess Armstrong added 11.

For SOU, Durand added 13 points and five rebounds, while West went for six points, 10 boards and three blocks. The Raiders went 9-for-19 from outside (with Schoenherr going 4-for-4) and 18-for-23 from the free-throw line. They also had just three turnovers in the first half - a season-low - but committed 12 in the second.

Carly Meister contributed four of SOU's 17 offensive rebounds. The Raiders had an overall edge of 53-35 on the glass.

Men's Basketball

SOU 84, OREGON TECH 80: At Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon's table-turning streak against the Oregon Tech is still alive after weathering a Lavar Moore storm at Danny Miles Court. Just barely.

Moore scored 31 points, making six of eight 3-point attempts in the second half, but Eric Thompson did him one better with 32 and the 10th-ranked Raiders stole a win — their seventh straight in the series and fourth straight in Klamath Falls.

After the Raiders (17-3, 7-2 Cascade Conference) led by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Owls (12-6, 5-3) went ahead for the first time since the opening moments when Austen Flint's 3-pointer made it 74-73 with 2:13 left.

The Raiders answered, getting it inside to Tim Weber, who found an open Jordan West for a layup, and West made two free throws following a Raider stop. Moore drained a 23-foot triple to tie it at 77-all, but Thompson drew a foul on the other end and made both free throws, and on the ensuing possession Moore dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds.

SOU made nine straight free throws in the final 66 seconds.

Weber ended up with 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, while West had 13 points and 10 boards. Ben DeSaulnier chipped in 10 points off the bench for the Raiders, who shot 56 percent (29-for-52) in the game.

OIT, which shot 46 percent (30-for-65), got help from Brandon Bautista (15 points, seven assists), Flint (14 points) and Kyle Waits (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Wrestling

SOU 27, EMBRY-RIDDLE 9: At Prescott, Ariz., second-ranked Southern Oregon had to work a little harder, but still took seven classes in a dual win at No. 9 Embry-Riddle (Ariz.).

The Raiders, who also defeated the Eagles 32-9 eight days earlier at the National Duals in Fort Wayne, Ind., improved to 11-2 overall going into today's Pacific Boxer Open in Forest Grove.

Devin Poppen notched a pin at 133 pounds and Taylor Johnson had one at 197, while five other Raiders had to labor for decisions. Poppen, a freshman from Oregon City, has won by fall in six of his last seven contests, and the second-ranked Johnson is 6-0 with four pins this season in NAIA duals.

The dual started at 157 pounds and SOU claimed the first three bouts by decision: fourth-ranked Dalton Urrutia defeated eight-ranked Colin Merkley (4-2), Brock Crocker upset 10th-ranked Luke Riley at 165 (3-1), and Chris Berg took advantage of his start at 174 by defeating Kolby Mays (10-3).

Fifth-ranked Jose Cruz III got the Eagles on the board with a 3-1 win at 184. Fifth-ranked Sage Ornelas (125) and Andrew Burr (141) recorded Embry-Riddle's other wins by decision.

Johnson did his work in 1:54 against Mitchell Major, and SOU led 18-3 after fifth-ranked heavyweight Clayton Burtis shut out David Rupp, 7-0. Poppen's pin took 1:50 against Nick Oliver, making it 24-6, and Tyler Cowger worked a 9-6 decision over Nick Wittrock.

Each of SOU's wins this season have been by at least 10 points.