Turnovers doom Raiders

Nineteen turnovers mangled an otherwise well-played game by the Raiders as they fell to the Knights of Warner Pacific 78-69 Friday night at McNeal Pavilion.

Senior Matt Cowell led the Raiders offensively with 25 points while nabbing nine rebounds. Junior Ryon Pool added 19 points and seven rebounds and led the Raiders (6-13, 2-7 Cascade Conference) with three assists on his birthday.

The league's leading scorer, Scott O'Gallagher, tallied 21 points to lead the Knights (11-7, 5-3) while three others scored in the teens. Conference rebound leader senior Jalonta Martin pulled down 12 boards and was the only Knight with more than five.

Cowell was disappointed that such a strong Raider effort went to waste.

"We executed what we wanted to do on defense in terms of making other guys make shots and we slowed the game down, which is exactly what we wanted to do," Cowell said. "The balls didn't go our way."

The Raiders came flying out of the gates, jumping out to a 12-4 lead on the power of three deep balls.

The teams held a breakneck pace early. Cowell scored nine of the Raiders' first 20 points, all on 3-pointers. Warner Pacific senior center Shane Stewart helped the Knights stay within striking distance with deep balls of his own.

Ahead 24-14 eight minutes into the game the Raiders turned up the defense but went cold offensively. The Knights eventually found their way around the Raider defense and went on a 15-4 run to take their first lead of the game with 6:28 left in the first half, 29-28.

Cowell led the charge for the Raiders late in the first half, scoring six points in the final five minutes. The Raiders ended the half with a 11-7 scoring run and took a 41-38 lead into half time.

SOU shot 42 percent from the field and 41 percent from behind the 3-point line in the first stanza to Warner Pacific's 36 and 22 percent, respectively. It was SOU's eight first half turnovers that allowed the Knights to stay close.

SOU head coach Brian McDermott was pleased that his team could be effective defensively, but knows that it is hard to get away with numerous turnovers.

"Any tempo that they got generated was out of turnovers," he said. "Its hard to defend against a turnover. That's a problem."

The Knights came out of half time determined to separate themselves from the Raiders and they nearly did. A 12-2 Warner Pacific scoring run put SOU behind 50-43 only three minutes into the stanza.

Over the next eight minutes, the Raiders inched back as the Knights missed a number of wide open 3s. With just over eight minutes remaining, SOU had crawled back to within one, 62-61.

With just over four minutes remaining in regulation, Warner Pacific went on an 8-0 run that turned its one-point lead into a 74-65 advantage. The Raiders tried to come back with deep balls, but the bounces went the way of the Knights as they rolled on to a 78-69 victory.

While Cowell led the squad in points, he also led it in turnovers with five. Pool and junior Eli Thornton weren't far behind with four turnovers a piece. Junior Kory Mahr led the Raiders in rebounds with 10.

The conference's eighth leading scorer, senior Josh Jackson, put up 14 while Martin scored 15 points in his double-double performance. Senior Pat Oury made a number of pivotal plays for the Knights and finished with 13 points and three rebounds, two of which were on Warner's offensive glass.

After a mostly impressive first half from his Raiders, McDermott was confident his squad could pull the upset.

"(The Knights) were 4-for-18 at half from — and we thought if they did that again, we'd win," McDermott said. "They went 4-for-16 in the second half. We didn't win."

The Raiders don't have to wait long to get back on the court as they play host to Cascade College (5-12, 0-9) at 7:30 tonight. McDermott hopes to leave Cascade winless in conference play, but knows his under-sized squad is in for a quarrel.

"They're men," McDermott said. "They're big, physical guys. Very strong. Hopefully they won't shoot it as well as this team."

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