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No. 12 SOU men drop Yotes to end drought in Caldwell

CALDWELL, Idaho — Despite jumping out to a 16-2 lead at 25th-ranked College of Idaho, a place where 23 straight Cascade Collegiate visitors had faltered, Southern Oregon University's start Friday night wasn't as rosy as the scoreboard made it seem.

Within the first seven minutes of play at the J.A. Alberton Activities Center, Raider starters Kenny Meyer, Clay Sierra and Jordan West had all been sent to the bench with foul trouble. They were back to finish the job in the second half, however, and Joel Spear was a steadying force throughout as No. 12 SOU defeated the second-place Coyotes, 85-79.

West finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, and Spear had 15 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and four assists as the Raiders (15-4 overall, 8-1 CCC) became the first visiting team to leave Caldwell with a conference win in 24 tries.

In front of a partisan crowd of 1,925, the Yotes dropped to 11-7 and 6-3 in the conference. SOU remained tied in first place with Northwest Christian, now with a two-game cushion in front of third-place Warner Pacific and C of I. The Raiders visit Eastern Oregon at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

SOU's entire 14-point lead disappeared before halftime, but Tristen Holmes' floater at the buzzer gave the Raiders a 37-36 edge at the break. Nine lead changes later, with the Yotes up 52-51 on Marck Coffin's jumper and 12:46 to play, the Raiders swung the game with eight straight points to get in front for good as Ben DeSaulnier's steal to a made layup and Clay Sierra's transition tip-in of DeSaulnier's miss made it 59-52.

The Yotes responded with the next six points, but West worked the lane for a layup, Kenny Meyer drove and scored, and Sierra tipped in two more misses to extend a one-point advantage to 67-58 with 4:44 left.

SOU was atrocious at the line – missing the front ends of five one-and-one opportunities – but made seven of its last eight free throws to wind up 16-of-29 and seal the victory.

Sierra, who punctuated the win with a steal to a wide-open dunk that made it a nine-point game with five ticks left, totaled 12 of his 15 points and seven of his nine boards in the second half. Ten of West's points came after he picked up his third foul in the first half, and DeSaulnier totaled 10 points, five assists and five rebounds.

After going 12-for-29 in the first stanza, the Raiders shot 53 percent (19-of-36) in the second.

Justin Martin helped them through some early droughts with three of his four 3-pointers in the first half.

SOU's win was its first at C of I since Dec. 17, 2011, and just the second in its last 10 trips.

College of Idaho got 25 points apiece from Dominique Jordan and Joey Nebeker. But Nebeker, the CCC's second-leading scorer, was held to 2-of-8 shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Women's Basketball

At Caldwell, Idaho, another Cascade Conference opponent showed up to face the eighth-ranked Southern Oregon women's basketball team's vaunted pressure defense Friday ill-equipped to provide answers for it.

This time it was the College of Idaho, which committed 33 turnovers in SOU's 76-50 win at the J.A. Albertson Activities Center. The Raiders made the Coyotes their 16th straight victim to start the season despite a spotty 37-percent shooting performance that was carried by Ashley Claussen's 21 points and Carly Meister's 16.

The Raiders are 9-0 in the CCC with a two-game lead atop the standings heading into today's 5:30 p.m. matchup with second-place Eastern Oregon (13-5, 7-2) in La Grande.

The Yotes went to 4-11 overall and 3-6 in the CCC. They've lost five straight to SOU since winning 12 in a row from 2008 to '13.

C of I was just as accurate as the Raiders from the field but got off 18 less field-goal attempts and 17 less free throws due to the aforementioned turnovers and SOU's 18 offensive rebounds.

Meister, who added seven rebounds, helped the Raiders navigate the first half with 11 points before they turned on the jets in the second. Leading 33-24, the SOU broke the Yotes' will with a 17-0 run in the first five minutes of the third quarter by forcing nine turnovers during the spurt.

Claussen logged 14 of her points in the second half and also finished with six rebounds and six of SOU's 23 steals. Autumn Durand totaled nine points and nine rebounds, while sisters Toria Bradford and Tiani Bradford were catalysts defensive with seven and five steals respectively.

SOU has forced 77 turnovers in its last two games.

The Raiders' offensive struggles extended again to the 3-point line, where they were 4-for-22, but they had advantages of 40-8 in the paint and 18-2 on second chances.

Petra Lumpert led the Yotes with 15 points. She went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, but the rest of the team was 0-for-13.

SOU's regular-season win streak dating back to last season is at 24. Their last loss was in overtime at EOU in the teams' most recent meeting.

Wrestling

At Portland, the most inexperienced Southern Oregon men's wrestling lineup in recent memory has needed to grind out more weight classes than usual, but the Raiders have still managed to clinch the program's 46th consecutive winning season Friday with a 29-6 dual win at Warner Pacific.

The 15th-ranked Raiders took the first six classes of the night against the 20th-ranked Knights, including the first four by decision until Tyler Cowger's pin at 149 pounds paved the way to an 18-0 start. Ryan McWatters (184) and Tanner Fischer (197) claimed the last of SOU's eight total wins by major decision, marking the only other bonus points of the dual.

SOU improved to 7-1 with Sunday's 3 p.m. head-to-head matchup at Simon Frasier in British Columbia up next.

Cowger, the sixth-ranked 149-pounder in the NAIA, finished off Charles Peterson in 3 minutes 30 seconds. He upped his dual record to 7-0, including two pins, two major decisions and two forfeits.

McWatters, ranked third at 184, also stayed perfect in seven dual bouts and has scored bonus points in six of them. He beat up Joe Dickinson, 13-3, and was followed by Fischer's 12-0 shutout of Casey Brown.

Five other Raiders worked tight decisions: 125-pounder Casey Coulter over Joshua Johnson (5-0), 133-pounder Matt Peterson over Alex Ursua (9-8), 141-pounder Trevor Hancock over Joshua Crager (4-3), 157-pounder Hunter Hodges over Robert Frasier (11-5), and 174-pounder Oscar Flores over Cesar Rodriguez Luna (11-6).

Jesse Johnson (165) and Stephen Wilbert (285) claimed WPC's only wins.

SOU has faced the Knights three times since they reinstated their program last season and outscored them a combined 111-15.