ROCKLIN, Calif. — Southern Oregon erased most of a 17-point second-half deficit but couldn't finish the deal in a 73-70 loss to William Jessup (Calif.) on Tuesday afternoon at Horton Court.
The Warriors (12-2 overall) held a 47-30 lead with 13 minutes left before the Raiders (8-5) started to climb back with a pair of Conor Carroll 3-pointers and Tate Hoffman's put-back in the span of a minute.
Tristen Holmes' jumper in the lane cut it to 68-66 with 51 seconds left and a defensive stop gave SOU a chance to tie, but a Holmes runner in the lane rimmed off. However, after a pair of converted Warriors free throws, Aaron Borich raced down the floor for a layup with three seconds left and WJU's Brandon Linsdey stepped over the line on the ensuing inbounds pass to give the Raiders another chance.
Throwing in from under their own basket, the Raiders passed to Holmes, who was whistled for traveling in the pain.
Holmes scored a team-high 17 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Ben DeSaulnier, Kenny Meyer and Borich scored 11 apiece, but the Raiders shot just 40 percent (26-of-65) from the field, including 11 of 31 in the first half. Jordan Hunt added eight points and 11 rebounds.
The Raiders were haunted by second-chance points, of which the Warriors scored 20 on 17 offensive rebounds. Keith Phillips accounted for most of those, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds.
SOU, which won the first meeting with WJU, 79-70, on Nov. 17 in Klamath Falls, kept the Warriors to 37-percent shooting, the lowest mark for an opponent this season.
Each of SOU's last four losses have been decided by two or three points.
The Raiders will get back to Cascade Conference play on Dec. 29 and 30 at Mountain Avenue Gym, hosting 25th-ranked Warner Pacific and Multnomah. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.
Southern Oregon landed at No. 4 in the postseason NAIA Top 25 football coaches' poll released Tuesday, marking the third-highest final ranking in team history.
Saint Francis (Ind.) won its second straight title on Saturday, 24-13 over Reinhardt (Ga.), and retained the No. 1 ranking all season. Reinhardt and Morningside (Iowa), the other national semifinalist, took the next two spots.
The Raiders finished 12-1 overall after starting at No. 25 in the preseason poll. They made their biggest jump, to No. 14, in the first poll of the regular season and didn't drop all year.
After winning the Frontier Conference title, the Raiders were No. 5 heading into the postseason and went on to eliminate No. 13 Dickinson State (N.D.), 55-24, and No. 4 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 34-29. They were knocked out in the semis by Reinhardt, 37-34, after two overtime sessions.
No other Frontier team finished in the Top 25, though Montana Tech and College of Idaho were the first two teams listed in the "receiving votes" category.
SOU has finished among the top-10 six times in school history, all since 2001.