Eighth-ranked Mounties drag Raiders back to Earth

Summing up his team's performance, Brian McDermott was brutally honest, as usual.

He even dropped the "S" word.

"We were so soft," Southern Oregon's head coach said. "And when you play soft against a skilled team like that "… then you're in trouble."

Thomas McCarthy hit four 3-pointers on his way to 19 points and Jason Mumm had 14 points and six rebounds as eighth-ranked Eastern Oregon used a 16-4 second-half burst to blast the Raiders 80-68 Friday night at McNeal Pavilion.

The Raiders entered the Cascade Conference clash with some momentum following a 6-2 start followed by a road sweep to open league play, but the Mountaineers showed why they came in as the nation's No. 2 3-point shooting team, hitting 8 of 21 bombs to win going away.

Southern Oregon (8-4, 2-1 Cascade) scored the first nine points of the second half, including five by freshman Kyle Tedder, to get within 46-44, but Mumm's layup got Eastern back on track and the Mountaineers (11-1, 3-0) took off from there. McCarthy scored five points in the game-breaking run, including a pull-up 3 that increased the lead to 55-46, and his fastbreak layup with 12:04 to go gave Eastern a 60-48 cushion.

The Raiders weren't closer than 11 the rest of the way, as the Mountaineers went up by as many as 19 points en route to their fifth straight win.

"We just focused up as a team," McCarthy said. "They were getting a lot of easy buckets, a lot of transition buckets. Anthony Brown had a few key assists to some of our guys to open up some easy buckets for us, but we had to dig deep. We were playing no defense in the beginning. I guess some of our guys were thinking that we could take it easy, but Southern's a great team. They fight to the end."

SOU junior forward Jordan Highland hit 8 of 14 shots on his way to a game-high 20 points and Tedder added 17 points and five rebounds for the Raiders, who held the Mountaineers to 40 percent shooting in the first half but still trailed 46-35.

"That was a tough one," said Tedder, a guard from Marshfield High, who entered the game ranked 15th in the conference in scoring and seventh in 3-pointers made. "We knew they could shoot the lights out. We just didn't come out hard enough, I don't think.

"We didn't come out with the intensity we would have liked. Sometimes that's just the way it goes."

JC Cook added 13 points and Travares Peterson nine points and nine rebounds for Eastern Oregon, which will be in Klamath Falls tonight for a crucial early-season league matchup against 13th-ranked Oregon Tech.

Southern Oregon was up to the EOU challenge early, trading baskets through most of the first half until the Mountaineers went on a 10-2 run over the final four minutes to take all the momentum into the break. Cook started the rally with a layup off an assist by McCarthy and hit a 3 moments later to give Eastern a 41-33 lead.

The final 40 seconds of the first half told the story of the game. At one end, the Raiders worked the ball around until Kellen Hawley wound up with an open 3 from the corner with 36 seconds to go. Hawley missed, and Eastern ran the clock down before Brown used an up-and-under move to score with his left hand at the buzzer.

"We probably left 10 points out there in the first half that were inside," McDermott said. "And we didn't (convert). It's a different game then."

Eastern had something to do with that, outrebounding SOU 26-20 in the first half to help overcome a 15-for-38 shooting clip.

McDermott said the Raiders could have made life much more difficult on the Mountaineers, but came out tentative.

"Yeah, they shot 40 (percent in the first half), but if we would have played they maybe would have shot 30," he said. "We didn't play them. And then on top of it we didn't execute very well. Boy, that's not a good combination.

"When you compete, you cut harder, you screen harder, you run faster and we didn't do any of that."

Southern Oregon can redeem itself tonight against College of Idaho, which fell to 4-10 and 1-2 Friday after a 63-59 loss at Oregon Tech.

"Hopefully, we'll come out a lot harder, a lot more intense," Tedder said. "What we were tonight is not characteristic of us at all."

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