Geoducks Fall Short Against Thunderbirds

January 21, 2003

by Devin Jones

PORTLAND, OR -- Sometimes an outstanding performance by just one player isn't quite enough to win. That was the case on Tuesday evening; Mike Parker's triple-double wasn't enough as The Evergreen State College men's basketball team fell just short of a dramatic comeback against the Cascade Thunderbirds, 77-74.

The Geoducks (5-4 conference, 11-12 overall) obviously didn't look ready to play the Thunderbirds (5-4 conference, 15-6 overall). Evergreen scored only six points in the first nine minutes of the game and only had 11 points on the boards with seven minutes left in the first half, trailing 28-11.

Finally, the Geoducks realized that either they were going to get embarrassed, or they could battle back and make it a close game. Evergreen chose to battle.

Over the remaining seven minutes of the first half the Geoducks outscored the Thunderbirds 21-9, making it a five point game at half, 37-32.

Evergreen wasn't finished there. The Geoducks continued their comeback in the second half, and with just under three minutes left to play, took their first lead of the game, 67-66.

Cascade, a team that brings four guys above 6'7" into the game, used their size to their advantage throughout the game, and cottoned to do so down the stretch. The Thunderbirds pounded the ball inside and regained the lead, 75-72, with less than a minute remaining.

Evergreen had one last chance to tie the game with ten seconds remaining, but Ben Riippi's (Puyallup, Wash. / Puyallup HS) three point attempt sailed just off the back of the iron...the Geoduck comeback was put to a stop.

Evergreen's Mike Parker (Washington DC / Clover Park HS) had an outstanding performance that seemed to be overshadowed by the loss. Parker was a force all game on both ends of the floor and led the Geoduck comeback.

Parker had a game high 21 points on 8-16 shooting, he also tore down 11 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive glass.

Amazingly, Parker recorded 11 blocks on the night, swatting away shot after shot by the Cascade big men, at times blocking one right after the other.

Parker broke his own school record for blocked shots in a game, and also registered the first ever triple-double in Geoduck history. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to overcome an 18 point first half deficit.

Nate Robinson (Kent, Wash. / Kentwood HS) and Haikima Moore (Dallas, Tex. / Allen HS) both chipped in 13 points for Evergreen, each going 5-10 from the floor. Adam Laneer (Tumwater, Wash. / Tumwater HS) knocked down 11 points (4-7) and Karriem Fielding (Sacramento, Cal. / Burbank HS) added 10 (4-10) in the loss.

Cascade's big men posted big man numbers with Matt Evers, 6'10", leading the way with 20 points on 8-13 shooing and five boards. Randy Kelly, 6'8", had 13 points (5-9) while grabbing eight boards.

Tevis Jones and Clifford White also scored in double figures for the Thunderbirds, with Jones chipping in 16 points on 6-9 shooting, and White adding 11 points (4-8) and eight boards in the win.

The loss drops the Geoducks into a three-way tie with Cascade College and Warner Pacific College for fourth place in the Cascade Conference. Evergreen will hope to move up in the standings this weekend, but it won't be easy.

The Geoducks will travel to Klamath Falls, Oregon on Friday, January 24, to face the number one team in the nation, Oregon Tech. The following evening the Geoducks will face conference rival Southern Oregon in Ashland. Tip-off for both games will be at 8:00 p.m.