KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – No. 2 nationally ranked Oregon Tech (7-0) flew past Antelope Valley (4-3) in the second after a tough first half to win 74-65. Senior Tyler Hieb put away 18 points in the Lithia-Oregon Tech Classic matchup at Danny Miles Court Saturday night.
The Pioneers opened the first half 4-0, pressuring the Owls defensively and keeping them from scoring for the first three minutes. Two fouls gave Tech their first points as sophomores Matt Van Tassell and Lachlan McKimm downed 4-of-4 to tie the game.
Antelope Valley struck back just a few minutes later, taking a 7-0 run to their largest lead of nine. The Hustlin’ Owls came back with a 7-0 run of their own as Hieb scored five and Van Tassell dunked on a Mitchell Fink assist.
The half saw poor shooting from Oregon Tech, who shot at 20.7% overall and hit 0-of-10 from long range. The Pioneers shot at 44% and went to the locker room on a four-point advantage.
Hieb picked up the slack in the second half, sinking three from behind the arc to lead OIT on a 13-2 run that put them in the lead for the first time in the game. Six Owls contributed points in a team-effort 16-4 run that sent the team to a 13-point lead.
From that point on Tech had control. The team forced 12 turnovers to take 20 points and Senior Seth Erickson downed two more three-pointers to bring the team to a 62.5% second half average. The team held out to take the win with a nine-point margin.
Oregon Tech was led by Hieb, who scored 18 and shot 3-of-5 from long range. Erickson followed with 16 points and eight rebounds and Van Tassell plugged in another 10 points. Senior Mitchell Fink scored six and added 10 assists and three steals.
Ronnie Rousseau III led Antelope Valley with 19 points and three assists, shooting 2-of-2 from long range before fouling out in the second half. Jacob Mast added another 13 points and Ruben Gonzalez made 3-of-5 from long range to score nine.
The Owls held a 38-29 rebounding edge, a 16-9 assisting advantage, and a 27-22 lead from the bench.
Twenty-nine fouls from the Pioneers allowed Tech to take a 25-12 advantage from the charity stripe.
Antelope Valley shot with strong accuracy, earning a 45.1% average overall and a 43.8% three-point average. The Hooters lagged at 39.3% overall and 27.8% from long range but shot 83.3% from the free-throw line.
The Hustlin’ Owls will travel to Eugene, Oregon for their next two games, taking on New Hope Christian and William Jessup in the Beacon Classic, with games taking place at 5:30pm Friday and 3:30pm Saturday, respectively.