ST. LOUIS — The Raiders picked up their 10th win of the season in dominant fashion.
After closing the first half with an 8-2 spurt to take a 40-30 lead into the break, Three Rivers began the final 20 minutes with a 12-3 run to take control on the way to an 81-51 win on the road against St. Louis Community College.
"We needed this one," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "This could help us, kind of motivate us to finish this year off well."
Leading 32-28 late in the first half, Tristan Jarrett, the nation's second-leading scorer at 29 points per game, started the 20-5 burst with a floater to start the momentum swing. Tallon Fonda connected on a pair of free throws on the following possession. Austin Parker scored the last two buckets of the first half to give the Raiders their first double-digit lead of the night for either side. Parker finished the game with nine points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 29 minutes.
Fonda and Jarrett controlled the early portion of the second half and kept the Raiders (10-15) in the driver's seat for the remainder of the night. The Raiders rebounded well against the undersized Archers, holding a plus-10 margin on the glass.
"Our opponents weren't very tall, weren't very big," Bess said. "I really liked the way Parker got some big rebounds, and Tristan got double figures, I think. He's involved in a lot of different plays, and particularly offensively. Parker got a lot of big defensive rebounds, as I remember."
Each player started the half with a drive and finish at the basket. After the Archers (10-11) scored their first basket of the second half, Fonda banked in a 3-pointer, one sign that it was the Raiders' night this time.
Abiodun Ayetimiyi pulled down a rebound and took it coast-to-coast for two, and Jarrett gave Three Rivers its first 20-point lead of the night. Darius Riley let his frustration show through and threw a forearm into Ayetimiyi a few possessions later when the two were fighting for the ball. He received a technical foul and took a seat on the bench afterward.
Jarrett knocked down one of the technical free throws. Miganeh Jama continued his solid stretch on offense with a floater and a trey on back-to-back possessions.
Jarrett finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes. Jama scored 15 points on 50 percent shooting in 21 minutes. Fonda was the team's third player in double figures with 12 points in 27 minutes on a 4 of 5 shooting night.
"(Jama) is a good shooter when he just keeps himself in reign and takes care of the ball and guards," Bess said. "He's an asset to this team."
In the first half, both teams traded baskets with the Raiders keeping the Archers at an arm's length. Khalil Johnson and Jama helped the Raiders pull away a bit before their big run. The Archers had pulled within a point at 21-20 before Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer. Jama followed with five straight points with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to put the Raiders up by six. The Raiders biggest run of the game followed to give them a comfortable lead for the remainder of the night.
The Archers cut their deficit to 15 points with around seven minutes to go, but the Raiders responded with a 20-5 run to close out the game earn its second win in three games.
As a team, the Raiders shot a solid 48 percent from the floor for the night.
Next up for the Raiders, they'll travel to MSU-West Plains Saturday. The tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic