he Southern Oregon University men’s basketball team had to wait nine days to get back on the court after a pair of tough losses to open Cascade Conference play.
If there was any rust after having over a week off, the Raiders didn’t show it.
A balanced offensive showing led by senior guard Tristen Holmes’ 19-point night was the catalyst for No. 13-ranked Southern Oregon’s 92-56 blowout win over Simpson University (Calif.) at Lithia Motors Pavilion on Monday night.
Holmes — who also had seven rebounds and a game-high eight assists, more than Simpson had as a team — was one of three Raider starters to finish in double figures, as junior forwards Tate Hoffman (14 points) and Jordan Hunt (13 points) went a combined 11-18 from the field in the win.
Hoffman has now hit double-digit scoring totals in five of his last seven games. Both Holmes and Hunter — SOU’s top two scorers this season — have failed to score at least 10 points in only two of the Raiders’ first 11 games.
Hunt also recorded his first double-double of the season, finishing with a game-high 10 rebounds. He also had four of the Raiders’ 15 blocks against the Red Hawks.
Monday night’s win was the final non-conference game of the season for Southern Oregon (10-3 overall, 0-2 CCC), which returns to conference play Friday night when Northwest (Wash.) comes to Lithia Motors Pavilion.
As they jump back into conference play, the Raiders — who will be playing at home during the remaining three weeks of 2018 — are already halfway to matching last season’s 20-win total.
SOU never trailed against Simpson, which entered the game with losses in two of its last three games after starting the season 5-1.
The Raiders, who shot 48.6 percent from the field in the game, jumped out to a 9-3 lead after a putback Hoffman. They pushed their lead into double digits all of nine minutes into the game at 23-11 on Holmes’ layup in transition.
Southern Oregon, which was up 41-28 at the half, led by at least 10 points the rest of the way.
Simpson struggled from the field virtually the entire game, shooting just 27.4 percent. The Red Hawks went 1-for-24 from behind the 3-point arc, making their lone triple of the night with just over five minutes to go.
SOU’s bench nearly outscored Simpson on its own, recording 40 points in the win.
Junior guard Blake Trent and senior guard Jalen Cooper each scored a team-high 14 points for Simpson, which next faces No. 22-ranked Oregon Tech (9-4, 1-1) next Tuesday night.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.