Southern Oregon forward Eric Thompson turned the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Game of the Week into a personal platform to showcase his talents as one of the best scorers in the country Friday night at Bob Riehm Arena.
Behind his 38 points, the 18th-ranked Raiders took care of the 19th-ranked Northwest University Eagles, 92-79, and moved back into second place in the Cascade Conference standings. They went to 20-6 overall, 9-5 in the CCC, and avenged a last-second loss at Northwest (17-7, 8-5) on Jan. 11.
Thompson matched a career high — which was established on Jan. 10 at Evergreen — on 15-for-22 shooting and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. He started hot with 22 first-half points to ensure SOU never trailed, then scored on four straight possessions to deny an Eagle comeback effort after they had cut the lead to 71-64.
He got his points off the dribble, in the post, from mid-range and with three 3-pointers, pushing SOU to a 56.7-percent clip (34-for-60) from the field. He's poured in 25-plus points 10 times this season.
"What we saw out there is as good of an offensive player as the NAIA has to offer," Raiders head coach Brian McDermott said. "He scored in just about every imaginable way and did it efficiently, which is what he's done all year."
Kyle Tedder scored 20 off the bench for SOU. His transition layup-and-one with 7:53 left was the centerpiece of an 8-0 SOU run after its advantage had been trimmed to four points, 63-59, on Ryan McIntosh's 3-pointer.
Jeff Bush, who entered the night as the NAIA's second-leading assist man, had 10 without a turnover, giving him 25 assists and two turnovers in his last three games. David Sturner tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks; Tim Weber had eight points, five assists, four boards and two blocks; and reserve Jordan West went 4-for-5 with nine points.
The Eagles were paced by McIntosh's 22 points. Michael Greene went 8-for-13 with 16 points, Nemanja Grujicic had 13 points and 12 boards, and C.J. Carter contributed 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals off the bench.
SOU turned the ball over just seven times. Northwest only had eight turnovers but was held to a 30-for-69 effort from the field.
"That was a big game for us and we responded by executing more often — not all the time, but more often than we have — and I think our zone (defense) helped us," McDermott said. "We played more zone tonight than we had all year and it helped us to not have to chase them around so much."
The Raiders have now won 20 games in back-to-back seasons four times in program history.
Collin Malcolm had a strong all-around game for Ashland but Henley capitalized on a rebounding advantage and got some late transition baskets for a 67-57 nonleague win Friday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Malcolm, a junior forward, tallied 17 points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
The Grizzlies (6-11) also received 15 points, four rebounds and three assists from Jackson Byers, but couldn't overcome a third quarter in which they were outscored 21-11.
Senior post Jesse Hilyard paced the Hornets (14-4) with 22 points.
HENLEY (67) — Dykstra 7, Grief 10, Campbell 3, Overstreet 4, Hilyard 22, Seaver 4, Mitchell 3, Mueller 13, Crain 1. Totals: 25 13-19 67.
ASHLAND (57) — Hasskamp 3, Jones 6, Layton 2, Harfst 4, Feinberg 3, Byers 15, Malcolm 17, Shibley-Styer 5, Stanley 2. Totals: 21 7-10 57.
Henley 9 21 14 23 — 67
Ashland 10 11 16 20 — 57
3-point goals — Henley 2 (Dykstra 1, Campbell 1), Ashland 8 (Hasskamp 1, Jones 1, Feinberg 1, Byers 2, Malcolm 2, Shibley-Styer 1).
JV result — Henley won.
Ashland cooled in the second half and Henley's Natalie DeLonge nearly posted a triple-double during a monster performance in a nonconference clash at Ashland High School.
Henley won, 51-40.
DeLonge recorded 28 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks to aid the Class 4A Hornets (16-2) who outscored the Grizzlies 28-16 in the second half. Ashland had a 24-23 halftime lead.
Georgia Williams led the Grizzlies (9-11) with 14 points and Michaela Dunn added 10.
HENLEY (51) — Turner 0, Whisler 8, Mathis 4, Mueller 7, DeLonge 28, Moates 2, Kochenderfer 2, Haigh 0, deHoop 0. Totals: 20 11-29 51.
ASHLAND (40) — Williams 14, Tilley 2, Greenburg 2, Teixeira 5, Dunn 10, Kasiah 3, Turner 4, Read 0. Totals: 12 14-22 40.
Henley 12 11 13 15 — 51
Ashland 8 16 9 7 — 40
3-point goals — Ashland 2 (Dunn 1, Kasiah 1).