Southern Uses Second Half Run to Defeat Bearcats 68-59

ASHLAND, OR — Rock-solid second-half defense allowed the second-ranked Southern Oregon University men’s basketball team to overcome Willamette University, 68-59, for the Flagship Inn Classic championship at McNeal Pavilion tonight.

Playing without injured All-American forward Shea Washington, the NAIA Div. II Raiders (8-1) overcame a 29-16 first-half hole and used a 13-0 run in the waning moments to erase a 57-55 deficit for their eighth straight home-court win and seventh consecutive overall.

Senior wing John Olinger (11) was the lone Bearcat in double-digits for scoring. Junior Josh Erickson had nine, and sophomore post Ian Mansfield had seven points and a team-best nine rebounds.

The NCAA Div. III Bearcats (2-2), who toppled fourth-ranked Oregon Tech last night, fell to 2-2 after squandering a 34-31 halftime lead and missing 18 of their second-half shots.

Southern clanked 10 of its first 13 looks at the basket, but senior point guard Steve Farley and junior Erion Moore helped whittle the WU lead and finished with season-best performances.

Farley went 6-for-11 for 17 points along with seven assists, while Moore, a 6-foot-6 post starting in place of Washington, was 9-for-16 and amassed game-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Junior Matt Cowell’s 22-foot 3-point from the right wing make broke a 57-all deadlock with 2:55 left, and the Bearcats missed their next eight shots until mop-up time.

After canning four 3-pointers in the opening nine minutes, WU converted only one trey the rest of the contest, including a 1-for-8 effort in the second half.

Senior post Jason Luchterhand had eight points and five boards for Willamette. Drew Miller added seven points and four boards.

Southern shot 45-percent (26 of 58), nailed 10 3-pointers and outrebounded Willamette 37-30.

The Bearcats open Northwest Conference play Tuesday night when they travel to Portland to take on Lewis & Clark.