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Spear's last-second free throw lifts Raiders

ASHLAND — Joel Spear's 24th point of the night was a go-ahead free throw with 0.8 seconds left, lifting the 18th-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team to an 83-82 win over Northwest University (Wash.) Saturday at Ashland High School.

Spear, who also had eight rebounds and five assists, ended the drama in a game that was full of it. SOU trailed 79-78 until Gary Melvin finished a fast-break layup and was fouled with 27 seconds left. He missed the free throw, but Spear rebounded it and put it back to put SOU up 82-79.

With 16 seconds left, though, NU's Dak Shagren drilled a 24-footer to tie the game.

On the other end, Spear came off an on-ball screen and was fouled shooting a mid-range jumper near the baseline. He missed the first free throw, but the second one swished through, and Jaden Jenkins' desperation attempt from 30 feet didn't hit the rim as the buzzer sounded.

SOU improved to 16-5 overall and 9-2 in the Cascade Conference going into today's 3 p.m. game against Evergreen at Ashland High. The Eagles — who lost a double-overtime decision to the Raiders on Dec. 30 — dropped to 8-14 overall and 4-8 in the CCC despite shooting 52 percent from the floor, 13 of 27 from 3-point range and getting 27 points from Shagren.

Ben DeSaulnier added 20 for the Raiders, who shot 58 percent, including 18 of 27 in the second half.