KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Eastern Oregon (7-6, 1-3 CCC) – the nation’s number one team in scoring offense per game – faced off against No. 2 ranked Oregon Tech (12-2, 2-2 CCC) – the nation’s number one team in scoring defense per game – on Saturday night at Danny Miles Court. After an intense battle, the nationally ranked Owls came out on top, dominating the second half to earn a 107-94 victory led by sophomore Kaison Faust who had a career high 22-points.
“A Really nice response by our guys tonight,” said OIT Head Coach Justin Parnell. “Their togetherness and toughness was noticeably different. We also got back to playing at the speed and pace that makes us good as well as competing on the offense glass.”
The game opened with a dunk from the Mountaineers Jarek Schetzle and then went back and forth between the two teams until Jamal Heckard and Brock Johnson landed back-to-back three-pointers for Eastern to send them up by four.
Tech didn’t make a three-pointer of their own until late in the half, when junior Scotty Burge put one in to interrupt an 11-3 run from the Mounties. After the first make the drought ended, with senior Seth Erickson dropping a three-pointer from both sides of the court in rapid succession and senior Mitchell Fink adding one of his own as the team went 18-6 to end the half just a single point shy of the lead, 49-48.
Eastern Oregon didn’t have as much trouble with three-pointers themselves, landing 6-of-9 in the period for 66.7% accuracy and taking a 58.8% shooting average as they held their own against the nationally ranked team.
However, a layup and Erickson three-pointer put the Hustlin’ Owls ahead early in the second, and the team soon solidified the advantage with an 18-6 run. Sophomore Kaison Faust contributed nine to the run and scored 18 in the second half alone to reach a career high 22 points on the night.
The Mountaineers were the ones struggling in the second as the two teams reversed roles, with Tech shooting 5-of-11 from behind the arc and 52.6% overall and EOU struggling with an 11.1% average from long range.
The Owls went 9-2 and then 8-2 as they blasted further past the Mounties to end on a 13-point advantage.
Six Owls scored in double-digits, led by Faust who added eight rebounds, Erickson scored 19 points with five makes coming from long range, while senior Tyler Hieb added 11, and Burge and junior Garrett Albrecht chipped in 10 each. Albrecht shot 100% from the field.
Two-time All American Fink scored 14 and dished out a career high 17 assists in a double-double effort.
Jarek Schetzle led the Mountaineers – and the game – with 28 points and 14 rebounds, putting in 10 of 13 on the night. Jamal Heckard followed with 21 points and six assists, making 3-of-7 from long range. Josh Brown and Zane Wright rounded off the double-digit scorers, tallying 17 and 10, respectively.
Oregon Tech held a 42-36 rebounding edge and put their unselfishness on display with a 28-11 assisting advantage as nearly every player scored a goal. The team also had a 43-29 bench scoring advantage thanks in part to Faust’s high scoring.
The Owls forced 16 turnovers and turned them into 17 extra points, also adding 23 second chance points off of 24 defensive rebounds.
The Hustlin’ Owls will travel to Portland, Oregon after winter break to face off against Multnomah University on January 3rd and Warner Pacific on the 4th, with games taking place at 7:30pm both nights. For local fans, the team won’t be back to Klamath until January 17th and 18th, when they take on Northwest Christian and Corban University at Danny Miles Court.