ST. LOUIS — The Raiders broke the Archers' backs by crashing the boards. Three Rivers College closed the game on a 13-point run to beat St. Louis Community College 74-62 on Wednesday. "We guarded really good down late and we got a bunch of key rebounds," said Three Rivers assistant coach Brian Bess, who coached in place of Gene Bess who had knee surgery a week ago. "Even on offense, there were some possessions where we got 2-3 offensive rebounds that were just back breakers for them." St. Louis took the lead one final time with 6 minutes to play. It didn't score again.
Three Rivers (19-7) forced five turnovers and held the Archers to 0 for 6 shooting as it pulled away. Camron Reedus retook the lead for the Raiders off an assist by Sadaeys Miller on the Raiders' first possession after the Archers moved in front. Ronnie Carson added a pair of free throws, and a few minutes later, sank two more that put the Raiders ahead by 10 points. With under a minute to go, Kavion Pippen sank a jumper to give the Raiders 27 points off turnovers, 10 more than the Archers (15-9). The Raider defense forced 20 turnovers, nine more than Three Rivers committed. Three Rivers also grabbed 13 extra rebounds and was plus-11 on secondchance points.
Pippen came off the bench to lead Three Rivers with 16 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes of playing time. With nine active players, Pippen was seventh overall in minutes played for the Raiders and was 8 for 12 shooting. Six of his eight rebounds were on the offensive glass. Three Rivers had five players finish in double figures. Reedus, who played 33 minutes and was the only Raider to get more than 30 minutes on the floor, had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Gabe Grant came off the bench for 13 points and eight rebounds. Carson and Terrence Parker both had 10 points. Wednesday was the third game in a row where the Raiders grabbed more than 40 rebounds. They had not put together three straight games with 40-plus boards this season. "That's a point of emphasis. We're doing a lot of rebounding drills," Bess said. The streak started immediately after Three Rivers got a season low 25 rebounds in a 77-74 loss at home to Moberly Area. That loss also marked Pippen's return to the lineup from injury. "I don't know if he is 100 percent yet, but he is playing a lot better," Bess said. The 6-foot, 11-inch sophomore forward leads Three Rivers with 6.9 rebounds per game.
Grant and Parker are both averaging 6.3 rebounds. Of the Raiders' seven losses this season, they had fewer than 40 rebounds in all but their two-point loss to Midland on Thanksgiving weekend. Neither team led by double digits until Carson's free throws with 1:21 to go. There were 12 ties and nine lead changes prior to that and the Raiders were down by as many as nine points early in the second half. The Archers sank a 3 just before halftime, then opened the second with another to take a 43-34 lead, their biggest of the game. Parker got a putback, then Carson stole the ball and Reedus sank a 3 to cut it back to four points. A couple minutes later, Pippen got a putback of his own to put the Raiders in front. They held on to a slim lead for nearly 10 minutes until Davante Harrell hit two free throws to put the Archers in front one final time, albeit for just 16 seconds. Three Rivers' KaJuan Christon was out with the flu and Daniel Soetan was out with a rolled ankle. Both are questionable for Saturday's game against MSU-West Plains.