OIT men’s basketball advances to championship game

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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Top-seeded Oregon Tech used an 11-0 run to start the game, held off a feisty Eastern Oregon squad in the second half, and moved to the Cascade Collegiate Conference finals with a 91-79 victory in the semifinal round of the CCC tournament tonight at Danny Miles Court.

No. 3 Oregon Tech improves to 28-4 overall, while Eastern Oregon fell to 19-10 on the season. Oregon Tech will look for their fourth-straight CCC crown when the Owls welcome Northwest University in the CCC tournament finals.

Back-to-back Scotty Riddle 3-point field goals, along with a Bobby Hunter tip-in and 30 foot triple from David Clarke, got the Owls off to an 11-0 start and the near capacity crowd to their feet just over two minutes into the game.

Jeff Ranstrom would finally put EOU on the board and cut the Mountaineer deficit to single digits, but that would be as close as the visitors would get in the first half.

Oregon Tech would lead by as many as 17 points, 24-7, with 15:27 remaining, but EOU would use a 9-2 run to keep it close trailing by just 10 points, 26-16, at the 13:19 mark.

Over the next eight minutes, however, Oregon Tech built a 49-25 lead after Jason Gamblin connected on a free throw line jumper with just over five minutes to play in the opening period. The Owls would eventually take a 57-38 lead into intermission after a Bobby Hunter driving layup as time expired.

Oregon Tech’s Kyle Gomez scored the first basket of the second half to give the Owls another 20+ point advantage, as the home team would eventually move up by as many as 26 points after a Bobby Hunter basket with 15:35 to play made it 70-44.

It was all Eastern Oregon for the next six minutes as a Jamier Morris triple led to a 17-4 run, as the Mountaineers trailed by 13 points, 74-61, at the 9:35 mark. Eastern continued to fight back and when Travares Johnson hit from long range with 5:49 to play Eastern Oregon cut it to single digits for the first time since early in the first period.

A David Clarke free throw put Tech up by double digits, but a pair of Ervin Felder freebies put EOU within eight points, 78-70.

Tech’s Gomez came back with a 3-point field goal and was true on 2-of-3 free throws to put the Owls up 13 with 3:15 remaining. The Owls would hold on to a double digit lead before EOU once again cut their deficit back to eight points with 34 seconds on the clock.

EOU would get no closer as Oregon Tech sealed the win with free throws down the stretch to secure the 91-79 victory.

Five Owls finished in double figures led by a game-high 24 from Bobby Hunter. Scotty Riddle followed with 18 points and five boards, while David Clarke filled the stat sheet with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. Gomez added 12 points and six assists with Jason Gamblin recording 12 points and four assists in the victory.

Jamar Johnson led Eastern Oregon with 13 points, followed by Cody Thurmon with 12 points and six assists and Anthony Brown with 12 points and seven rebounds. Trent Roos finished with nine points, while Ervin Felder and Jeff Ranstrom added eight points each in the loss.