Raiders set for home debut before lengthy road trip
The 18th-ranked Southern Oregon men’s basketball team’s non-conference tour will finally make a stop at Lithia Motors Pavilion on Tuesday night, though the holiday week festivities won’t stop there.
A laborious early slate has taken the Raiders (4-2) to Montana for the first time in 23 years, Northern California, Southern California and Klamath Falls. After they host the University of Maine at Fort Kent (3-4) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, they’ll make their first-ever trip to Nebraska for the Draemel Classic, where host Midland (Neb.) (2-4) and fourth-ranked Morningside (Iowa) (7-0) will be waiting. The Raiders haven’t waited this many games to face a team with a sub.-500 record or debuted at home this late all decade.
WHILE YOU WERE AWAY: SOU senior forward Tate Hoffman and head coach Brian McDermott both made Raider history in quality wins over the last 10 days:
Of the 24 members of SOU’s career 1,000-point club, eight have joined since 2014. Hoffman became the latest on Nov. 16 during a 14-point, six-rebound outing that helped the Raiders beat UC Merced, 62-56. Hoffman, a 6-foot-7 product of West Linn, has been the team’s leading scorer at 15.3 points per game and top rebounder at 5.7. He’s averaged 10.7 points on 48-percent shooting in his career, ranks 10th in team history in 3-point makes (120) and has scored in double figures 55 times — including all six outings this season — with eight double-doubles. His frontcourt mate, senior Jordan Hunt, also broke into the 1,000-point club last year and stands at No. 18 on SOU’s all-time list with 1,186.
McDermott became the fifth active coach at the NAIA Division II level with 500 career wins on Saturday, when the Raiders knocked off 15th-ranked (NAIA DI) Vanguard (Calif.), 75-71. He pocketed the first 117 at Dakota State (S.D.) and has been at SOU since 1996, making him the longest-tenured coach in the Cascade Conference. He’s guided the Raiders to eight consecutive winning seasons in which they’ve averaged 22 victories and has been SOU’s all-time wins leader since the 2012-13 season with a 383-343 overall record.
- Three seniors — Aaron Borich, Conor Carroll and Jordan Hunt — have been SOU’s most efficient offensive producers. Borich, handling starting point-guard duties for the first time, is averaging a career-high 10.5 points on 50-percent shooting and 12-of-28 from 3; Carroll is contributing 8.8 points on a career-best 54-percent mark from the field; and since being shut out in SOU’s opener, Hunt is pouring in 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds, while also leading the team at 55 percent from the field.
- The Raiders rank 13th in the NAIA in blocked shots per game (4.3), led by Tez Allen’s 1.7. Allen is also the team’s leader in assists with 23.
- Four different players have already led SOU’s democratic offense in scoring through six games. Hoffman, Hunt and Teron Bradford have each hit the 20-point mark.
- The first NAIA Top 25 of the regular season will be released Wednesday. Ranked 18th in the preseason, the Raiders are not expected to drop out, given their only losses were in overtime at unbeaten Hope International and in the season-opener against Carroll, last year’s NAIA DI runner-up.
Tuesday’s game against Maine-Fort Kent is a rematch of SOU’s 2017-18 opener, which the Bengals took 101-95 at Ashland High. Saturday’s matchup at Midland will be a rematch of the 2015 NAIA DII Tournament’s first round, where the Raiders came back to pull off a 73-71 upset of the 10th-seeded Warriors. Like Midland, Morningside is a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference and is the favorite to win it. Morningside and SOU have never matched up, though the Mustangs were knocked out by another Cascade Conference team, College of Idaho, in last season’s national quarterfinals.