KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Oregon Tech and UC Merced each entered their first game of the Lithia-Oregon Tech Classic with an undefeated record, but only Tech would leave with one as senior Mitchell Fink led the No. 2 ranked team to an 86-68 victory – improving their record to 6-0 while Merced drops to 4-1.
In their sole matchup last season, the Bobcats dealt the Hustlin’ Owls their first loss after taking a commanding lead in the first half. After pulling off a 7-0 run early in the first half Friday night, it appeared as though they might repeat their feat.
However, the Owls rallied and turned the tide – going on an 18-to-3 run to take back the advantage, with Fink scoring eight in a row to head up the offensive effort.
Merced wasn’t about to quit either, going on their own 8-to-2 run to come within just three points of the lead in the second, but Tech held the team to only a single point in the last four minutes as they racked up 10 points of their own to end on an 18-point margin.
Fink scored a season high 30 points and added four assists. He was followed by three other Owls who scored in double-digits – junior Harrison Steiger with 13 and junior Garret Albrecht and sophomore Kaison Faust with 10 each.
Albrecht added a team-high nine rebounds and Faust and Steiger each added six, leading Oregon Tech to a 41-28 rebounding edge.
Rapael Durr led the Bobcats with 18 points, shooting 8-of-8 free-throws. Jonah Cottrell scored 12 and made 2-of-3 from long range before fouling out, and Kingsley Obiorah scored 10 points and grabbed 10 boards to earn a double-double.
Tech forced 18 turnovers while only committing 14 of their own, with each team grabbing an extra 12 points off turnovers.
The Owls took a 31-16 edge from their bench.
The Lithia-Oregon Tech Classic will continue with games all day tomorrow, including Southern Oregon University vs UC Merced at 3:00pm before the Hustlin’ Owls take on Antelope Valley at 7:30pm at Danny Miles Court.