Raiders host hoops classic

ASHLAND — The 17th edition of the Flagship Inn Classic will feature more teams and more games for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

The annual men's tournament has grown to feature women's game this year and will run Friday through Sunday at Southern Oregon University.

The event will feature four games on Friday and Saturday and a pair of games Sunday afternoon.

Friday's games tip off with the Oregon Tech women battling Warner at 1:30 p.m., followed by the OIT men against Simpson at 3:30 p.m. Southern Oregon takes over the court at that point as the SOU women host Cal Maritime at 5:30 p.m. and the SOU men host New Hope Christian at 7:30 p.m.

The Oregon Tech women play Cal Maritime at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, while the Owls' men's team faces New Hope Christian at 3:30 p.m. The SOU women host Warner at 5:30 p.m. and the Raider men face Simpson at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday's games feature the Warner and Cal Maritime women's teams at 2 p.m. and the SOU men facing Simon Fraser at 4 p.m.

The SOU men, who will be playing at home for the first time this year, come into this weekend's game with a 3-3 record, including a pair of wins over NAIA Division I competition.

Freshman big man Eric Thompson has been the story in the preseason for the Raiders. The Roseburg High product is averaging 27 points, which ranks third in NAIA Division II. Thompson also ranks fifth in the nation in free throw shooting (.909) and 27th in rebounding (8.5).

All-American Jordan Highland is averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game and ranks seventh in the nation in field-goal percentage at .696.

As a team, SOU leads the nation in free-throw percentage at .785 and ranks fourth in 3-point shooting (.462) and field goal percentage (.533).

The Oregon Tech men come into this weekend ranked fourth in the Preseason NAIA top 25 poll and with a 6-1 season record. Simpson sits at 0-7 in the preseason and New Hope Christian is 1-8 with an upset of 10th-ranked Eastern Oregon last week.

On the women's side, SOU has sprinted out to an 8-0 record — including a 74-60 victory over Montreat Tuesday night at Bob Riehm Arena.

Senior Josi McDermott, a former Ashland High standout, and junior Haley Newell both are averaging double-digits in scoring for the Raiders. McDermott is averaging 13.4 points, while Newell is averaging just over 10 points per contest.

Oregon Tech sits at 5-1 on the season.

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