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SOU studies way to 15 CCC academic all-star awards

Fifteen Southern Oregon University basketball players — eight men and seven women — have earned spots on the 2015-16 U.S. Bank Academic All-Cascade Conference team, released Tuesday by the league office.

More impressive, that number represents the vast majority of the 19 players who have been at SOU long enough (three quarters) to be eligible for the award.

For the SOU men, graduate student Clay Sierra, seniors Justin Martin, Joel Spear, Jordan West, junior Alex Miller and sophomores Ben DeSaulnier, Kenny Meyer and Carson Reid earned all-academic honors, which requires a minimum 3.2 GPA and a sophomore academic standing.

For the SOU women, seniors Ashley Claussen, Carly Meister, Kristin Smeaton, juniors Tiani Bradford, Majerle Reeves, Demi Sahlinger and sophomore Taylor Nuttall were honored.

It's the second straight season that the Raiders have excelled in the classroom as well as on the court. During the 2014-15 season both SOU basketball teams qualified for the NAIA Division II national tournament and carried a 3.41 GPA, which ranked second nationally on the men's side and 31st for the women.

Currently, the 15th-ranked SOU men (17-5, 10-2 CCC) are one game behind league-leading and eighth-ranked Northwest Christian in the league standings, and the ninth-ranked SOU women (18-1, 11-1) are first place in the conference standings, one game ahead of Oregon Tech.

Only one other school in the 11-team conference (Corban University with 17) had more academic all-stars than Southern Oregon. The Raiders ranked second, followed by Oregon Tech (14) and Eastern Oregon (13).

The SOU men's basketball team led the league in academic all-star nods, followed by Corban (seven).

Both SOU basketball teams return to action Friday at Warner Pacific in Portland.