ASHLAND, Ore--- Over the past few games, SOU head coach Brian McDermott has preached that the Raider offense will grow with time. Some worrisome turnovers and stagnate offensive sets led to some Raider losses. However, right on cue, the Raiders offense picked up the pace with wins against Warner Pacific on Friday and Saturday.
The Raiders took a 73-65 win on Friday but the turnover numbers were still concerning. Saturday's blowout is where things really turned around.
"Today, we were quite a bit better at moving the basketball early in possessions and not trying to force the issue so much, but trying to get movement to allow us to get to some of our pieces a little bit earlier in the possession," said McDermott.
On Friday, the Raiders had 17 turnovers. On Saturday, in an 81-60 win, SOU only turned it over 11 times.
The "Raider up" mentality was also showing through.
Jake Virga suffered a hit to the groin late in the opening half. At one point, he looked like he may not be able to return. However, he bounced back with five key points to open the second half. He would finish the game with 13 points and was one of three different Raiders to hit double-digit scoring.
"Especially because when he leaves the floor it's all freshmen for us," said McDermott. "We love our freshmen but we don't want them taking all the minutes. When he is on the floor is gives us a veteran presence and that is what he gave us today."
Josh Meyer led the Raiders in Saturday's game with 16 points while battling food poisoning. That is according to McDermott. Meyer hit 3-4 from downtown and added four assists.
Freshmen Mason Whittaker also turned heads. He finished with 12 points but seemed to make the patient plays when the Raiders needed them most.
Josh Washington came off the bench after competing in the high-jump at an SOU Track and Field event just hours before the game. Washington finished with nine points. He was one of three different Raiders to have nine (Tez Allen, Hunter Bradford).
With the win, SOU goes back above .500 at 5-4.
The Raiders will play their final home games of the season against Bushnell on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. Saturday's game will tip at 7 p.m. and Sunday's game will tip at 2 p.m.