Hoffman's big night powers SOU men
ASHLAND - Nothing new was established in the third meeting between seventh-ranked Southern Oregon and Warner Pacific: Tate Hoffman still has the Knights' number, though his latest offensive outburst ended their season.
In the quarterfinal round of the Cascade Conference Championships presented by U.S. Bank, Hoffman tallied 26 points and nine rebounds and No. 2 seed SOU rolled to an 82-65 defeat of seventh-seeded WPU on Wednesday night at Lithia Motors Pavilion.
The win, which made the Raiders 23-6, set up a marquee semifinal matchup Saturday against eighth-ranked Oregon Tech. It'll be the first time SOU has hosted OIT in a CCC Tournament game since 1999, tipping off at 7 p.m.
Top-ranked College of Idaho will host No. 5 seed Eastern Oregon in the other semifinal, and the winners will play Tuesday night for the title.
Hoffman shot 9-of-14 overall and 5-of-6 from 3, and on the season against the Knights (14-16) averaged 26.3 on a combined 15-of-22 display beyond the arc. In the second half, he scored 15 and was perfect on three 3-point attempts as the Raiders extended a 47-40 halftime edge to as many as 29.
WPU - which lost 98-83 in Saturday's regular-season finale at SOU - was held to 30-percent shooting, becoming the third Raider opponent in the last month to hit at 30 percent or worse.
SOU sophomore Teron Bradford had 11 points, six assists and six rebounds and Jordan Hunt shot 8-of-13 for 17 points in addition to four boards, two blocks and two steals.
Josh Washington also sparked the Raiders during a six-minute shift in the second half, scoring seven points with a tip dunk and a 3-pointer during a 22-5 push that made it 74-49 with eight minutes to go. During a one-minute stretch that capped the run, Hoffman hit back-to-back 3s and Washington added another on successive possessions.
Conor Carroll chipped in seven points and Tez Allen logged eight rebounds and five assists.
KJ Bosco went for 16 points and nine rebounds for the Knights. Kadeem Strickland had 15 and four.
The Raiders have won nine straight in the head-to-head series.
They improved to 11-1 at home, winning their eighth straight in Ashland, and will appear in the semifinal round for the fifth time in six seasons.
Oregon Tech, the tournament's No. 3 seed, fought off Northwest Christian 87-83 after trailing by 10 in the second half. The Owls will come into the matchup with a 25-6 record and, like the Raiders, their spot in the upcoming NAIA Division II National Tournament is safe.