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Men’s Basketball Falls Short In Tough Contest

Dakota Kuranaara (left) and Ethan Flanigan watch Kyree Davis shoot from the three-point line during a practice on Jan. 31. (Photo by Cam Hanson)

Linn-Benton’s men’s basketball team had a shaky week in terms of closing out the two games they played. In their 61-70 loss against the 19-2 Clackamas Cougars, the Roadrunners hung in the game until the very end. After a slow first half that, at one point, saw a 13-point deficit, it was clear that the key to winning the game was to hold it down on the defensive side of the ball.

As the clock trickled down and the defense started intensifying, the Cougars were able to outrun the Roadrunners down the stretch. The inside and outside shooting was disappointing against Clackamas as they shot just 18-51 from the field, 5-15 from 3-point land, and only 20-30 from the free throw line. However, the shooting and spreading of the ball has gotten much better since the season started for the Roadrunners, and a slight bump in the road shouldn’t put much of a downturn on their improvement.

The biggest story of the game was the rebounding and points in the paint differential between the two clubs, as Clackamas reeled in 48 rebounds compared to Linn-Benton’s 35. Those rebounds led to 30 points in the paint for the Cougars, while the Roadrunners finished with just 18. Freshman Kyree Davis executed a solid night, scoring 16 points along with 6 rebounds and an outstanding defensive effort that kept him in the game for 39 of the 40 minutes of play.

In their 63-73 loss at home vs the Chemeketa Storm, the Roadrunners fought until the end, and came up just short once again. With one player on the Storm scoring over 30 points, Linn-Benton found themselves in a hole as they had to defend a high-powered scoring threat and compete against a very well-disciplined defense.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Roadrunners came out with a second half gameplan to lock down the offensive threats, and slow down the pace to create points through half-court offense. Their free-throw shooting was an improvement from the last game, as they went 14-18, and 8-10 in the second half. Freshmen Kadeem Nelson and Fred Harding IV put in solid stat lines with a combined 32 points, 4 assists, and 9 rebounds on 10-22 shooting.

It was another disappointment for the roadrunners, but it was another game they know they were capable of winning. It’s clear that Linn-Benton can compete with the best teams, yet they came up short in many games down the stretch of the last few minutes. With a few more made shots, defensive rebounds, and better defense toward the end of games, the Roadrunners have a great chance at upsetting future tough opponents.

Story by Isaiah Haqq

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