CARTERVILLE, Ill. — It took the Three Rivers men's basketball team 5 minutes, 48 seconds to score its first points Tuesday night. And by the time the Raiders finally sank their first field goal half a minute later, they were already trailing by 20. "I've never experienced one to that extent," said coach Gene Bess of the start to his 1,636th game on the Raiders bench. Three Rivers whittled a 27-point, first half deficit down to 12 with just under nine minutes to play but couldn't get any closer as No. 15 John A. Logan College earned a 95-81 home win. "Happy with the way we fought back," Bess said. "Got within 12, thought we could get in single numbers but it didn't quite happen. At least we didn't quit." Three Rivers (9-3) missed its first seven shots from the field and turned the ball over four times to fall behind. The Volunteers (10-1) took advantage with three quick baskets and was off to the races. Already ranked 13th in the nation in scoring at 100.6 points per game, Logan had 55 points by halftime by shooting 58 percent from the field, including 6 of 15 from 3-point range. "They shot it well early and we shot it quick," Bess said. "One or two passes, shoot quick." Jeffery Porter and Aidan Saunders each scored 21 to lead the Raiders in scoring. Former Raider Ronnie Carson led Logan with 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Two of his three 20-point games have been against his former team. Jaiveon Eaves added 19 points while David Sloan had nine points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Logan won the first meeting at Three Rivers, 84- 69, but the Vols didn't get their first double-digit lead until seven minutes into the second half. The deficit was 11 after just three minutes Tuesday night as the Raiders misfired. Sloan got things started with a fastbreak basket and Carson sank a catch-andshoot 3 from the corner before Eaves made it 7-0 and the Raiders called a timeout. After a four-player line change by Bess, Eaves sank a corner 3 and Carson was fouled shooting a 3 before sinking all three foul shots for a 17-0 Vols lead. Down 19, Keiondre Jefferson got to the free-throw line at the 14:16 mark, making his second for the first point. Chris Stocks got the first shot from the fi eld to fall on a 3 at 13:34. "They just came with a lot of enthusiasm and we looked like we were just showing up," Bess said. Eaves sank a 3 to put Logan up 46-19 with just under six minutes left in the half and the Vols took a 55-30 advantage into the half. Chucky Wilson scored seven of his nine points in the opening two minutes of the second half to get Three Rivers within 19 but picked up his fourth foul and headed to the bench. Logan pushed its lead back to 22 before Three Rivers put together a 14-4 run led by seven points from Porter. Stocks sank a 3 and the Raiders trailed 73-61 with 8:54 to play. Logan, however, was already in the double-bonus and took advantage by hitting 10 of 11 free throws the rest of the way. The Vols fi nished 23 of 30 at the line and also held a 37-24 rebounding advantage with 15 second-chance points in a 14-point win. "I thought we were prepared, had a real good idea of what they do," Bess said. "They just attacked us, came at us hard. We couldn't stop them." Three Rivers returns Jan. 3 with a trip to Wabash Valley (Ill.) before starting region play at Mineral Area on Jan. 6.
Brian Rosener - Daily American Republic