ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon men's basketball team will play its first home games of the season this weekend when the Raiders host New Hope Christian, Simpson and Simon Fraser.
The Raiders, 3-3 overall, will face New Hope Christian on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Simpson on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Simon Fraser on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Bob Riehm Arena.
Southern Oregon has averaged 80 points per game through six contests while shooting 53.3 percent from the field (177-for-332).
Eric Thompson leads SOU in scoring and rebounding, averaging 27 points and 8.5 rebounds while hitting 57.5 percent of his shots (61-for-106).
Jordan Highland has averaged 14 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Raiders.
The Raiders posted a 1-1 record over the weekend at the Oregon Tech Tournament, falling to Holy Names 85-79 on Friday before defeating William Jessup 70-58 on Saturday. They lost to NCAA Div. II No. 14 Humboldt State in an exhibition Monday, 97-81.
Head coach Brian McDermott believes his team can compete with anybody offensively but still needs work on defense.
"We're shooting the ball very well all over the court with a number of people, but we're also allowing our opponents to shoot it too well," he said. "We have some strides to make before we're ready to be a conference challenger, and that will happen when we get better defensively."
This weekend will provide SOU its last opportunity to prepare for the start of the Cascade Conference schedule.
Friday's matchup against New Hope Christian will mark the first time the Raiders and Deacons have met. New Hope Christian was 1-6 going into a Tuesday game against Warner Pacific. The Deacons' win was a 77-76 upset of No. 10 Eastern Oregon on Nov. 18.
"They've obviously beat one of the top teams of our league," said McDermott. "If they can beat them then they should be a talented opponent."
Simpson will come to Ashland looking for its first win after dropping seven games. The Red Hawks will face No. 4 Oregon Tech in a tournament matchup Friday afternoon before Saturday's meeting with the Raiders. Bryan Castillo leads the team in scoring, averaging 18 points per game, with Travis Derochowski adding 10.7 points per game.
Sunday's game will be another matchup with an NCAA Div. II opponent in Simon Fraser. The Clan is 2-1 and will face Capilano and Humboldt State this week before Sunday's contest. Javan Williams has led SFU in scoring with an average of 24.7 points per contest, and he has averaged 8.0 rebounds per game. Justin Brown is averaging 17.7 points.
STROBEL TO HALL — Former Oregon State wrestler Greg Strobel will be one of four inductees into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame June 1-2 in Stillwater, Okla.
Strobel lettered at Oregon State from 1971-74, accumulating 124 wins, which ranks seventh in school history, and his winning percentage of .958 is second only to Jess Lewis. His 43 pins are also seventh in program history.
His five career losses came in his first two seasons with the Beavers. He is one of five wrestlers in team history to have a perfect senior year, going 36-0. He's also one of three to go perfect their junior seasons (39-0).
Strobel was an NCAA champion his junior and senior seasons, both at 190 pounds. The Beavers finished in the top 10 as a team in every season he lettered.
He also won the Pac-8 Conference title at 190 pounds as a sophomore in 1972.
After his career at Oregon State, he served as the head coach at Lehigh from 1994-2008 and coached on the 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams. He has also served as the national team's director for USA Wrestling.
Strobel's entry into the hall of fame will give the Beavers four members. Robin Reed entered in 1978, followed by Dale Thomas in 1980 and former South Medford star Les Gutches in 2009.