Eastern Oregon foiled Southern Oregon’s comeback try with a 3-point barrage to close out a 78-68 win in the semifinal round of the Cascade Conference Championships presented by U.S. Bank on Friday night at Quinn Coliseum.
EOU (21-9 overall), the tournament’s No. 2 seed, went six minutes without a field goal while the No. 3-seeded Raiders (20-10) shrunk what had been a 14-point second-half deficit to two. Adam Orr ended the drought from downtown at the 6:28 mark, hitting the first of five Mountaineers 3-pointers over the next four minutes that put the Raiders away.
The wait for Wednesday’s NAIA National Tournament selection show got a little longer for SOU, which will hope to receive an at-large bid when the 64-team field is announced. The Mountaineers advanced to play in Monday’s championship against the winner of the other semifinal between top-ranked College of Idaho and No. 5 seed Corban, which was pushed to Saturday night due to weather-related travel issues. If C of I wins, EOU will qualify for the national tournament automatically.
Orr came off the bench to hit four of EOU’s 12 3-pointers and score 16 points. Preston Chandler shot 6-of-7 from the field with a pair of triples to score 17.
Thanks in large part to their not committing a turnover in the first half while SOU totaled nine, the Mountaineers went up 41-32 by the break despite Phillip Malatare, the CCC’s top scorer, being held to one bucket. Malatare struck early in the second half with three 3s, the last of which went up from NBA range and put his team up 50-36 with 17 minutes left.
Defensive stops got the Raiders back in it, as did Atmar Mundu by scoring 11 of his 13 in the second half.
Josh Meyer scored 14 points and matched a career-high with 15 rebounds, and his fallaway jumper in the lane got SOU within four at the five-minute mark. Orr promptly responded by hitting a 3 from the corner, moments before Justin Jeske picked up a steal and went coast-to-coast to make it 69-60.
The Mountaineers outscored SOU by 21 points from 3-point range and committed 14 fewer turnovers. In their 88-63 loss on Jan. 20 in Ashland, they went 7-of-24 from 3 and Orr didn’t make a shot.
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Photo courtesy of EOU Sports Info.