Willamette Holds Off Raider Hoops Rally to Win Third Straight, 74-71

Ashland, Nov. 28, 2003 — Ryan Rahlfs scored four points in the final 86 seconds, leading The Willamette University men's basketball team to a 74-71 victory over Southern Oregon University in the Flagship Inn Classic at McNeal Pavilion tonight.

Senior guard David Force and junior Harold Sublett each blocked a potential game-tying 3-point attempt by Raider guard Peter Nelson in the final seconds to help the NCAA Div. III Bearcats (3-0) remain undefeated this season.

The Raiders (3-5) lost their home season opener for the second straight season despite rallying from a 46-29 deficit with 16:53 remaining and taking a 67-66 lead following a Ryan Gabel 3-pointer at the 4:02 mark.
Rahlfs ruined the comeback bid when he hit four of his game-high 24 points in the final minute-and-a-half.

The teams battled through 14 lead changes in the opening 12 minutes before WU went on a 14-0 run over the final six minutes of the first half for a 37-22 halftime edge.

Sophomore Henry Greeley (11) and Force (10) joined Rohlfs in double figures among Bearcat scorers.

SOU was led by sophomores Shea Washington (16 points, 10 rebounds), Jared Abell (15 points, seven rebounds) and Gabel (a season-high 14 points).

Both teams shot 46-percent from the floor, and SOU finished with a 43-27 rebounding advantage.

Willamette plays Oregon Tech tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. on Day 2 of the tournament, while SOU tangles with rival Western Oregon at 7:30 p.m.