CARTERVILLE, Ill. — Like last year, the Raiders will go into the Christmas break on a loss. In its last game of 2016, Three Rivers College's comeback against John A. Logan College came up just short and the Raiders lost 85-78 Tuesday. "We'd love to find something good to come from our loss and maybe it will sober the players up and get them a little more focused," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "It also shows us that we are going to have to get better to beat the good teams. "We'll be a little uneasy until we get back to playing again."
Three Rivers (12-2) was up three at the half, but down 12 midway through the second half after starting it 2 for 15 with four turnovers, and was still down 15 with 6 minutes to go. Gabe Grant started the ferocious comeback with a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions. Terrence Parker made it a 10-point game with a layup, then Grant hit two more free throws, Parker got a steal, and Grant buried a 3. On the next possession, Parker got a putback and suddenly the Raiders were within one possession after being down 15 just 2 minutes earlier.
Parker blocked a shot and with more than 3 minutes to go, Grant made a layup to make it a one-point game. It was as close as Three Rivers got. Jalen Perry, who led Logan (8-4) with 27 points, answered with the Volunteers' fi rst fi eld goal in 4 minutes and Three Rivers didn't sink another bucket. The Raiders' only points down the stretch were a trio of free throws from Grant, who led the Raiders with 21 points after going 11 for 12 on free throws. They fi nished 0 for 4 from the fi eld, and Logan pulled away late at the free-throw line. "The second half, we just came out and didn't compete for awhile," Bess said. "They had a pretty good inside and outside attack." Three Rivers' shooting went from 46 percent in the fi rst half to 25 percent in the second and it fi nished 36 percent overall from the fi eld.
Logan, meanwhile, was 12 percent better in the second half and 4 percent better overall. Three Rivers also grabbed six fewer rebounds, but was plus-one on second-chance points. "The big guys are a big key to our team and they just weren't quite ready for prime time last night, but they are making progress," Bess said. Camron Reedus and Kavion Pippen both had 14 points for the Raiders. Pippen also had seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks and led Three Rivers in all three categories. For the Raiders, who are sixth in the nation in opponents' fi eld goal percentage at 35.7 percent, it was the fourth time this season they've allowed better than 40 percent shooting. Three Rivers is 2-2 in those games, with losses to the Volunteers and Midland. In Three Rivers' Nov. 8 win over the Volunteers at the Bess Activity Center, Logan shot 30 percent overall. Perry was held to six points on 2 for 7 shooting in that game. On Tuesday, he was 9 for 17 and 5 for 10 on 3-pointers. "I think they took us lightly the fi rst time they played us because they had seen Shawnee blow us out at the jamboree," Bess said."They area good team and they just came out."