Hot-handed EOU knocks off SOU
LA GRANDE — The Eastern Oregon women's basketball team added a stain to Southern Oregon's previously-spotless record Saturday night and in doing so made the Cascade Conference title race considerably more interesting.
As usual, the eighth-ranked Raiders had little luck inside Quinn Coliseum, now the site of seven consecutive regular-season losses for SOU after the Mountaineers' 75-69 upset. The teams traded baskets for most of the night until, tied at 45 midway through the third quarter, EOU scored nine unanswered points to start a 19-6 surge in which they made four straight 3-pointers.
The Raiders (16-1, 9-1 CCC) had been the only undefeated team left at the NAIA Div. II level. The end of the best start in program history and a 24-game regular-seasonwin streak dating back to last season makes them one of four one-loss teams.
EOU (12-7, 8-2) — which has won the last three CCC regular-season titles — is one game back of the Raiders in a three-way tie for second place with Oregon Tech and Northwest Christian.
SOU will begin the second half of CCC play at home (Ashland High) next Saturday and Sunday against Northwest (Wash.) and Evergreen State.
Ashley Claussen scored 25 points and Carly Meister had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Raiders. Claussen went 5-for-11 from beyond the arc and SOU was 10-for-19 as a team, shooting 44 percent overall from the field.
The Mountaineers were down at 40 percent — still better than any SOU opponent in nine games — but hit 14 of 28 attempts from 3-point range. Payton Parrish made six of them off the bench to score 22, while post Nikki Osborne had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Parrish drilled two 3-pointers during the decisive run. And, after Tiani Bradford's triple cut EOU's lead to 64-60, Parrish answered with another one with 5:46 left. When Claussen came up with a steal and a layup to trim the edge to 67-64 with 2:40 on the clock, Parrish answered with her final 3.
SOU also got nine points, 10 rebounds and four steals from Autumn Durand, and Bradford had 10 points and three steals.
EASTERN OREGON 74, NO. 12 SOUTHERN OREGON 64: At La Grande, 12th-ranked Southern Oregon was already in too deep a hole by the time it finally caught fire.
Off the mark for the second time in two weeks on the road, the Raiders shot 27 percent on their way to a 38-22 halftime deficit and were down 61-40 when EOU's Travis Meeker hit a 3-pointer with 8:29 left. But the Raiders then staged a 15-1 run as Joel Spear made 3-pointers on three straight possessions, Justin Martin hit one on the fourth and another Spear triple cut the lead to 62-55 with five minutes to play.
Another Martin trey made it 70-64 with 1:21 remaining, but that was as close as the Raiders got. They missed their final five field-goal attempts and ended up at 33 percent (22-of-67), right where they were in a Jan. 5 loss at Oregon Tech.
SOU (15-5, 8-2 Cascade Conference) dropped into a second-place tie with Warner Pacific, one game behind Northwest Christian in the standings. Northwest (Wash.) and Evergreen State will visit Ashland High to open the second half of CCC play next Saturday and Sunday.
Kalvin Johanson, a 6-foot-11 senior post, led the Mountaineers (9-11, 5-5) with a career night of 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including five dunks. Travis Meeker added 15 poitns and Brandon Houston had 12 with seven rebounds.
SOU's Jordan West went for 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Spear recorded 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks, and Martin hit 3-of-10 from beyond the arc on his way to 11 points. Ben DeSaulnier, the Raiders' leading scorer entering the night, was bottled up at 1-for-9 from the field but finished with eight points and six boards.
The Raiders, at one point tied 10-all, went nearly seven minutes without a bucket in the first half. When West finally ended the drought with 7:01 on the clock, EOU responded with seven straight points to make it 33-17 as the Raiders went three more minutes without scoring.
SOU entered the weekend with a league-best clip of 51 percent from the field.
The Raiders knocked off 25th-ranked College of Idaho on Friday but still haven't completed a sweep of the trip since the 2005-06 season. Coming into the night, they'd won five straight against EOU.