Raiders lock down No. 8 Volunteers with defensive stand

Raiders lock down No. 8 Volunteers with defensive stand

The Raiders didn't allow the No. 8 team in the country to get a field goal for the first 8 minutes of the second half.

It propelled Three Rivers to a 20-point lead as it beat John A. Logan College 75-63 Tuesday at the Bess Activity Center.

"We beat a really good team," said Three Rivers coach Gene Bess, who now has 1,235 wins. "We've got to have everybody playing hard like this and getting better for us to do what we want to do this year."

The Raider defense was stout to finish the first half and start the second. In the closing 9 minutes of the first half and then the opening 8 minutes of the second, Logan made three field goals.

"I think we had some guys that felt like we got short changed not being in the top 25," Bess said. "Every year is a new year. It is one of those situations where you have to build as you go and go through mistakes and learn from them. This is the best we've played this year."

The Raiders (3-0) didn't just get stops at the other end, they got Stops!

After Camron Reedus' first 3, Ronnie Carson drew a charge. After Reedus' second 3, the Raiders pressured the Volunteers into a travel call. After Gabe Grant's layup, Kavion Pippen earned his fourth of seven blocks. The Raiders had nine points off turnovers during the run and 13 in the first half.

Three Rivers took a 10-point lead into the locker room and Jeffery Porter's two layups off turnovers were the only field goals in the first 5 minutes of the second half.

Carson found him with a perfect bounce pass in transition on the first and Porter got a pick-pocket steal and jogged in the second.

"He just does those little things and he's been doing it all fall. He's got that basketball IQ and a great background, playing on great teams and we expect him to do that," Bess said of Porter, who finished with eight points, five rebounds and had three of the Raiders' seven offensive rebounds.

Added Grant, "Big time. He's so solid and he's so mature, too. If you talk to him, he knows the game. He's been around the game. I feel like watching his brother play for so long and the high level of basketball, he knows what to do. He's not going to force things, he's going to play within himself and he's somebody I know I can rely on if things get tight."

Daniel Soetan added another layup off a steal to put the Raiders ahead by 16.

Logan (3-1) finally called a timeout with 13:21 left, down by 15 and still searching for their first field goal of the second half. It took them another minute, and the Raiders were ahead by 19, but they made a shot.

The Volunteers got within nine late, but the Raiders finished 87 percent on free throws for the game after starting 14 for 14 and held on.

"There's always room to work. We could have done a lot better, but we did enough to get the W and that is all that matters," Porter said.

Rebounding was a big emphasis by the Raiders heading into the game and they were plus-5 on the boards and minus-1 on second-chance points.

"Our coaches had been stressing that they were athletes and they play above the rim. So we had to know our fundamentals and box out to get the rebound," Porter said.

The Raiders were also plus-11 on points off turnovers despite committing one more than Logan.

Three Rivers opened the game with a 10-1 run and coupled that with a 15-2 run later on. Both were earmarked by clutch 3s and emphatic stops.

Reedus, who led the Raiders with 16 points, opened play with a 3 and Grant followed with another for a quick 6-1 lead. Grant pump faked and added a layup and Carson got another layup 3 minutes into play.

On the other end, of the floor, Pippen swatted two shots and the No. 8 ranked Volunteers didn't hit a field goal for nearly 4 minutes.

Logan did get going though and tied it up for the first time at 14.

Allen Billinger hit a 3 for the first of four lead changes, but the Raiders never fell behind by more than four.

With 7 minutes left in the first half, the Raiders got a steal and Carson finished the layup to open the second run.

Three Rivers was still up four points when Reedus hit 3s on consecutive possessions for the game's first double digit lead.

Grant caught the ball on the wing after that, drove, and made a reverse layup to complete the burst.

Then the defense found its form.

"For me, it was circled since last year. That was my first real big game I ever played in as a college player and it was different," Grant said. "I was telling (the freshmen), this is going to be a big game, this is going to determine our season. I feel like this is going to parallel us and tell us how deep we can be and how good we can be."