ASHLAND — Southern Oregon slipped up in the final minutes but had trouble containing University of Maine at Fort Kent throughout a 101-95, season-opening loss on Wednesday night at Mountain Avenue Gym.
The Raiders took an 87-85 lead with just over four minutes to play after Conor Carroll's pass led to a Ben DeSaulnier fast-break bucket. They missed their next four shots, however, and mixed in a couple turnovers to enable a game-deciding 10-2 run by the Bengals.
Tate Hoffman's 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists led SOU, and Jordan Hunt poured in 20 points and 11 boards. Hoffman had a chance to pad his point total in an 87-87 game on a long lob pass from Aaron Borich, but his attempt rimmed off and Anthony Knight drained a transition 3-pointer on the other end that put the Bengals up for good.
Knight scored a game-high 27 points, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts, and the Bengals shot 46 percent (35-of-76) with just seven turnovers. UMFK, which lost a 13-point lead a night earlier at Oregon Tech, trailed 25-15 in the first half but went into halftime with a 50-47 lead thanks to Knight's buzzer-beating triple.
Ben DeSaulnier, Tristen Holmes and Kenny Meyer combined for 25 Raiders points in the first half, but in the second DeSaulnier scored seven while Holmes and Meyer were shut out. Holmes battled foul trouble all night, ultimately picking up his fifth with over five minutes to go. He finished with five of the team's 27 assists, and backup point guard Aaron Borich had 13 points and six assists.
The Raiders shot 48 percent (34-of-71) for the game and went 14-of-36 from downtown but misfired on each of their last seven 3-point attempts.
Their streak of consecutive season-opening wins ended at five. They'll pick up next Tuesday at Simpson (Calif.).