Before the Lewis-Clark State men’s basketball team had to forfeit games last weekend to Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon because of COVID-19 protocols, its had won five of its past six games.
LCSC wanted to get back to its home confines at the P1FCU Activity Center and experience a bit of home cooking.
However, Corban would have something to say about that.
The Warriors from Oregon, who have been through an up-and-down season themselves, stunned the local Warriors 88-78 in a Cascade Conference game to earn their first victory against LCSC in program history.
“Credit to Corban, we haven’t lost at home in a while and they were by far the more aggressive team,” said LCSC coach Austin Johnson, who previously was the coach at the Salem, Ore., school. “We really struggled to respond to their aggressiveness.”
LCSC (13-5, 6-4) had problems stringing together lengthy possessions and had issues all game holding onto the ball. It had 21 turnovers in the contest.
“We were not ready to go,” Johnson said. “They really pressured us and we didn’t handle that well and that’s evident.”
LCSC did shoot the ball well from the field, going 28-for-53 (52.8 percent). But the difference was Corban (10-8, 5-5) had more chances, attempting 71 shots and making 30 (42.3 percent).
“We could not keep them off the offensive glass, “ said Johnson of Corban’s 13 offensive rebounds. “When you look at the percentages it comes out better for us, but they put up almost twice as many shots.”
LCSC has struggled to find any type of continuity with injuries and COVID-19 derailing its lineup.
Freshman Silas Bennion was added to the COVID-19 list, and it put the spotlight on freshman guard Colton Spencer.
Spencer, who had a career-high 15 points Jan. 3 against Warner Pacific, set a career high with 21 points.
He scored nine points in the first half and was 3-for-3 from the field, all from 3-point range and all either tied or gave LCSC the lead.
“He played really well,” Johnson said. “He’s had a rough go to start the year. He had COVID-19, then he came back for a week then he got the flu. It’s nice to have him back.”
Spencer hit his third 3 of the half on an assist from senior forward Kevin Baker, who also saw his first game action in a while, to tie it at 21.
But after Spencer’s 3, Corban used a 7-0 run to take a 27-21 lead.
It was 31-26 Corban when Oreon Courtney and Teagen Hoard each got hit with technical fouls, which sent Kendall Moore to the free-throw line. Moore, who finished with 15 points, made all four attempts.
“We didn’t handle the adversity well at all, we were on our heels,” Johnson said. “We were too reactive. We needed to be proactive and tonight, we were taking too many body blows.”
Senior guard Khalil Stevenson attempted to lift LCSC on his back in the second half. He scored all 22 of his points in the final 20 minutes.
Stevenson finished a dunk to start the half, getting the fans on their feet. But Jordan Newt, who finished with nine points, hit a 3 to put Corban up 45-33.
That was a bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the half. LCSC made plays offensively to hang around, but the defense struggled to maintain momentum.
“On one hand, credit to our guys for finding a way to claw back but its also our guys that had us down 18,” Johnson said. “We weren’t nearly good enough to win.”
Mateo Escheik paced Corban with 25 points and Taylor Anderson added 13.
CORBAN (9-8, 4-5)
Escheik 9-20 5-7 25, Anderson 6-12 1-1 13, Newt 3-9 1-2 9, Henderson 3-7 0-0 7, Roth 1-4 2-2 5, Moore 4-12 5-5 15, Maduakor 2-4 3-6 8, Lewis 2-3 2-2 6. Totals 30-71 19-25 88.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (13-5, 6-4)
Stevenson 8-14 2-3 22, Baker 4-7 3-4 13, Sommefield 2-7 0-0 5, Stockton 2-4 0-0 4, Courtney 2-3 0-3 4, Spencer 7-9 1-2 21, Newsom 2-2 2-2 6, Fromm 1-5 0-0 2, Hoard 0-2 1-3 1. Totals 28-53 9-17 78.
Halftime — Corban, 40-28. 3-point goals — Corban 9-21 (Escheik 2-4, Newt 2-5, Moore 2-5, Maduakor 1-1, Henderson 1-2, Roth 1-2, Anderson 0-1, Lewis 0-1), Lewis-Clark State 13-29 (Spencer 6-7, Stevenson 4-7, Baker 2-4, Sommerfield 1-6, Hoard 0-1, Stockton 0-2, Fromm 0-2). Fouled out — Lewis. Rebounds — Corban 36 (Maduakor 11), Lewis-Clark State 38 (Stockton 9). Assists — Corban 9 (Andereson 3), Lewis-Clark State 13 (Stockton 4). Total fouls — Corban 19, Lewis-Clark State 17. Technicals — Lewis, Courtney, Hoard. A — 418.
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