Free throws and putbacks were almost enough for the Raiders to topple a top-10 team. Three Rivers College grabbed its only lead against No. 9 ranked Tallahassee (Fla.) with about 8 minutes left in the game, but weren't able to hold on to it and lost 88-80 on Thursday. "We dug ourselves a hole early and just had to fight and claw our way back. Never did establish our offense," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "We missed some shots early and they were pretty good. They got us out of what we normally try and do and then it just became a battle trying to get back into the game with our halfcourt trap."
Down by eight at halftime, Three Rivers (12-3) used its half-court trap to earn its only lead when Camron Reedus sank one of his 7 3-pointers. Ronnie Carson grabbed an offensive rebound on Three Rivers' next possession and Aidan Saunders got the layup to put the Raiders ahead by four, which was their biggest lead. Tallahassee (16-1) was back in front within 2 minutes. Three Rivers scored one point in the final 2 minutes of play, a free throw by Daniel Soetan, while Tallahassee doubled what its lead back to where it was at halftime. "I thought we might be in a position to get something done, but then it was back to the last 2-3 minutes we didn't do much," Bess said. The Raiders shot 30 percent overall, 17 percent worse than the Eagles. Only Kavion Pippen and Mamadou Diakhaby, who were both 1 for 2 from the field, shot 50 percent overall. Diakhaby also went 6 for 6 on free throws for eight points. Pippen had a quiet night with three points and five rebounds, well below his average of 12 and 7. Camron Reedus led the Raiders with 28 points. He was 6 for 13 shooting beyond the arc, and 1 for 8 inside it. He also went 8 for 10 on free throws.
"Reedus hit some big 3s at different occasions to help us not get blown out," Bess said. The Raiders were able to make up for the shooting disparities at the charity stripe and with secondchance points. They were 36 for 44 (82 percent) at the foul line while Tallahassee was 28 for 40 (70 percent). Three Rivers also turned its 14 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points, a plus-12 difference against the Eagles. Terrence Parker had seven rebounds to lead the Raiders, including four offensive rebounds. Diakhaby also had four offensive rebounds and six overall. Overall, Three Rivers got one less rebound than Tallahassee. Along with Reedus, Soetan and Carson scored in double figures. Soetan had 11 points after going 6 for 8 on free throws and Carson had 10 points after shooting 5 for 6 at the charity stripe. "They were a really good team and they were on their home court, we hadn't played in a few weeks so we had a lot of excuses, but we have got to play better against teams like this," Bess said.