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Yotes pounce on SOU, take tourney title

CALDWELL, Idaho — Ninth-ranked College of Idaho did the same thing to Southern Oregon in Tuesday night’s title game that it did to every other opponent while steamrolling through the Cascade Conference Championships presented by U.S. Bank.

By holding the Raiders to 36-percent shooting and jumping on them early, the top-seeded Yotes eased to a 78-55 triumph at the J.A. Albertson Center. They won their three tournament games by 90 combined points and have won by an average of 26 during an active 11-game streak.

The fifth-seeded Raiders, after pulling off road upsets in the first two rounds, came up a win short of an NAIA National Tournament bid. They finished the season with a record of 18-15.

The Yotes (29-4) claimed the CCC Tournament title on their home court for the fourth straight season, excluding the pandemic-altered 2020-21 campaign. Because they previously locked up the CCC’s first national tournament bid by winning the regular season championship, the second automatic bid dropped to No. 2 seed Oregon Tech.

Four players scored in double figures for C of I, led by Jake O’Neil’s 13 on 6-of-8 shooting with six rebounds off the bench. C of I’s reserves outscored SOU’s 37-20, and the Raider starters combined to shoot 14-of-43.

SOU point guard Atmar Mundu had 13 points and hit 3-of-7 from deep. Forward Josh Meyer recorded 12 points and six rebounds, and wing K’wan Carter went for six points and three steals.

The only senior on SOU’s roster, Jayson McMillan, scored five points in his final appearance.

Each of SOU’s last title game appearances since 2015 have come at C of I. The Yotes won all of them.

The 64-team NAIA National Tournament bracket will be announced Thursday.