Looking for positive end to season, men’s b-ball falls just short
Coming into their game on Wednesday Feb. 13, the UCC Riverhawks men’s basketball team knew they needed nothing short of a miracle to make it to the NWAACC tournament. Needing to win their last four games to be in the mix for playoffs, the Riverhawks jumped out to an early 26-16 lead against the Linn-Benton Roadrunners. The Roadrunners tightened the gap to 41-35 at the half. The Riverhawks came out after halftime and built a positive margin of 16 points between them and their opponent. The ‘Hawks held onto their lead to win 79-67. Jared Knox led the Riverhawks with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Unfortunately, the Riverhawks lost their following two road games and with them any hope of making the playoffs. When the UCC men came into their season finale against the Clackamas Cougars, they were playing for pride and the chance to spoil the Cougars’ playoff aspiration.
The Riverhawks exploded with energy and bolted to a quick 7-0 lead. The ‘Hawks used strong defensive play to force bad shots and crashed the boards to build their lead to 13-2. Then, the Cougars came back to win the half 39-33. The Riverhawks rallied down the stretch on the strength of a breakout performance by Chris Mock and his 18 points. The Riverhawks tied the game 72-72 at the end of final regulation time. In overtime, the Cougars held a four point lead until Jared Knox hit a clutch 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in OT. The ‘Hawks defense held the Cougars scoreless for the rest of the period, unfortunately a missed free throw and a turnover on the final possession ended in a loss for the Riverhawks.
“Unfortunately, we knew we were already out of the playoffs,” coach Rich Robles said. “The team did everything we asked of them. All year long it just seemed like we had some bad luck. It’s been hard to catch a break. But the guys responded well and a couple points in a few games made the difference. Otherwise, we would have been in playoff contention. Coming into this game we wanted a positive end to the season.”