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Men’s Basketball Comeback Falls Just Short in CCC Semifinal Against No. 17 Oregon Tech

Alisha Alexander | LC State Assistant AD-Sports Information

LEWISTON – With five minutes to play in the first half, No. 17 Oregon Tech led by 20, but with seconds to play in the second half it was an even contest between two of the top teams in the Cascade Conference. A last-second basket by the Owls secured the 82-80 victory over LC State in the semifinal round of the Cascade Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, presented by U.S. Bank, on Saturday. The Warriors now wait to see if they did enough for a spot in the national tournament.

The contest was an even battle with OIT shooting .561 compared to LC State’s .560. Both teams grabbed 25 rebounds with five offensive and 20 defensive.

“We came out very flat and OIT capitalized,” Head Coach Austin Johnson said. “Credit to them for being the tougher and more aggressive team tonight. They deserved to win. That being said, this has been a special group of guys to coach. Hopefully we get a chance to compete in the national championship, but regardless, I can’t say enough good things about this team and our seniors.”

HOW IT HAPPENED

Oregon Tech came out with an intensity that the Warriors matched through the first six minutes. The two teams went basket-for-basket and six points by Davian Brown early on helped keep the score tied 14-14 at 13:20.

The Owls surged to pull away 37-19 by 6:00 and took their largest lead, 41-31, a minute later. Free throws by Brown, Jaedon Bradley, Anthony Peoples Jr. and John Lustig had the deficit at 50-32 at the break.

LC State rallied in the second half to turn the tables. Sam Stockton and Lustig each hit triples to pair with layups by Alton Hamilton and Brown to keep pace with OIT. A dunk by Lustig sparked a run of eight to cut the margin to 62-51 at 11:41, and back-to-back 3s by Quentin Raynor and Brown had the Warriors down by six, 64-58, at 8:26.

Another 3 by Raynor made it a three-point game at 66-63 two minutes later as Oregon Tech fought to maintain a four-point lead over the next few possessions. Back-to-back 3s by Raynor and Brown evened the score 76-76 and another triple by Raynor had the Warriors in front 79-78 with 48 seconds to play.

A Hamilton layup had LC ahead 81-80 with 19 seconds, but Jamison Guerra’s fadeaway jumper ended the Warrior’s run in the CCC tournament.

Brown led the Warriors with 18 points, Lustig scored 15, Raynor and Bradley each scored 12 and Peoples Jr. tallied 10 points. Bradley led the defense with seven rebounds and Peoples Jr. blocked four shots.

UP NEXT

As the No. 2 seed in the CCC tournament, the Warriors will earn the conference’s second automatic-bid to the national tournament if regular-season champion No. 3 College of Idaho defeats Oregon Tech in the title game on Tuesday. If OIT wins, LC State will hope for an at-large bid.

The NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship selection show will take place on March 7 at 4 p.m. PT.

Stay up to date with all things Warrior Athletics at lcwarriors.com and on social media @LCWarriors.

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