Geoducks Give #1 Hustlin' Owls a Scare

January 24, 2003

by Devin Jones

KLAMATH FALLS, OR -- At certain points throughout a college basketball season, a loss can turn into a confidence builder for a team.

Friday evening, the Geoducks played the #1 team in the nation, the Oregon Tech Hustlin' Owls, and battled down to the wire.

Evergreen came up on the short end of the final score, 87-83, but gave the undefeated Owls their closest contest of the season.

The loss gave the Geoducks (5-5 conference, 11-13 overall) some confidence for the remainder of the season, proving that Evergreen can compete with any team and has the ability to beat any team.

The Geoducks jumped out to an early 7-3 lead against the Hustlin' Owls (9-0 conference, 21-0 overall) but surrendered a 21-5 run midway through the first half.

The run gave Oregon Tech a 24-12 advantage, forcing Evergreen to battle back. The run also proved to be the difference at the end of the game.

Evergreen did exactly that. They battled back, converting on 48% (15-31) of their field goals in the first half, including and outstanding 66% (10-15) from behind the three-point line. Thanks to the hot shooting, the Geoducks trailed by only four at halftime, 49-45.

Not to be outdone, the Owls were just as successful shooting the ball in the first half, knocking down 56% (18-32) of their field goal attempts, including 64% (9-14) from behind the arc.

The second half was just as entertaining as the first, with both teams still shooting the ball extremely well. Unfortunately, the Geoducks were unable to overcome the four point deficit at the half, as the two teams played an even second half, both scoring 38 points.

Following the game one fan commented, "This is by far the best game I've seen all season."

For the game, Evergreen shot 49% (28-57) from the field and a season high 63% (12-19) from three-point land, allowing the Geoducks to give the #1 team a run for their money.

The Owls were just as effective shooting the ball, going 27-54 (50%) from the field, including 13-28 from three-point land (46%). Both teams had a balanced scoring attack on the night, with Evergreen having five players in double figures and Oregon Tech finishing the game with four.

The Hustlin' Owls were led by Todd Matthews and Florian Houguet who each had a game high 21 points. Matthews was 7-8 from the floor and had a game high nine rebounds and handed out a game high 10 assists. Houguet was 6-10 from the floor and had five rebounds, and four assists.

Kevin Baker chipped in 17 points on 7-13 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds for Oregon Tech, while David Michaelis added 11 points (4-7) in the win.

The Geoducks were led by senior Mike Parker (Washington DC / Clover Park HS) who had a team high 19 points on 7-11 shooting. Parker also had four assists and a team high three steals.

After the game Parker stated, "We played well tonight, if we can play like this for the remainder of the season then I think we'll be a pretty difficult team to beat."

Devin Jones (Ogden, Utah / Bonneville HS) contributed 18 points on 3-7 shooting, including 8-8 from the free throw line. Jones also had a team high seven rebounds and a team high six assists for the Geoducks.

Haikima Moore (Dallas, Tex. / Allen HS) added 14 points (6-12), while Tygann Billow (Bellevue, Wash. / Sammamish HS) and Nate Robinson (Kent, Wash. / Kentwood HS) each knocked down 11 points in the loss.

Despite the loss, the Geoducks are sitting in a tie for fourth place in the Cascade Conference standings and are only one game back out of second place.

The Geoducks will look to improve on the seeding as they face the Southern Oregon Red Raiders for the second time this season.

Evergreen defeated the Red Raiders 93-89 in an overtime battle early this season in Olympia, Washington. Now Southern Oregon will look for revenge on their home court in Ashland, Oregon. The conference battle will begin at 8:00 p.m.