OIT Owls continue their dominance with 78-58 win over our Geoducks
December 20, 2006
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Evergreen coach Tom Kenna would have liked to see the same intensity his team had shown the previous night in their win over Southern Oregon. Sometimes however, the opposing team simply won't let your team have that luxury. Tonight, playing the top team in the Cascade Conference and number two currently among NAIA Division II teams, the Geoducks possibly faced their most important opponent of the season.
The Oregon Tech Owls, who received three first-place votes in the NAIA Division II poll last week, had four players scoring double digit points to beat the Geoducks 78-58 in Cascade Conference play.
Oregon Tech's coach, Dan Miles, has racked up one of the best records in college basketball. He earned his 800th career victory earlier this month in his 36th year at Oregon Tech. "He's an outstanding coach and he's got an outstanding team." Evergreen coach Tom Kenna said of Miles.
The Owls' Levell Hesia scored 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting and Ryan Fiegi added 15 points and seven rebounds as Oregon Tech won its 15th straight to start the season. The Owls (4-0 conference) trail only Huntington (Indiana) in the national poll.
Evergreen (6-7, 2-2) shot just 12-for-31 from the field in the first half and finished just under 40 percent. Oregon Tech proved to be a fast, aggressive team that often caught Evergreen by surprise. Opportunities, like Evergreen ball steals, were often nullified by the defensive efforts of the Owls.
Coach Kenna wasn't downtrodden by the teams loss, "It's not an easy task to play two quality opponents back-to-back, especially playing the No. 2-rated team, so many of our guys are new."
Early in the game Oregon Tech went on an 8-0 run for a 19-8 lead and put themselves out of Evergreen reach. OIT's Josh Garrett played a key role with 12 points and 7-of-9 shooting from the line. Brent Johnson added 10 points in just 14 minutes.
In the second half, after Hesia knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 57-37 lead with 13:43 remaining, Evergreen made a run. Jermaine Smith hit two straight buckets and Conner-Green added another before Hicks' acrobatic layup cut it to 57-45 with 12:17 to play.
Evergreen was not able to continue their momentum to chip away at OIT's lead. "We took some bad shots and we had a turnover or two or three" lamented Kenna.
For the home team, Devon Conner-Green totaled 12 points and eight rebounds, and Dwain Hicks had six points and four steals. Adam Moore brought in the team high of 22 points.
Evergreen is optimistic about the remaining games of the season, "We're 2-2 in the conference," Kenna said. "We still have a lot of games left and we are going to be competitive in the conference. I'm proud of the way our team held each other up tonight".
Men's basketball has some holiday time off, playing next on December 29th when they travel to Idaho to play Albertson College.