CALDWELL, Idaho - Seventh-ranked College of Idaho grinded down Southern Oregon inside and pulled away to win the title game of the Cascade Conference Championships presented by U.S. Bank, 70-55, on Tuesday night at the J.A. Albertson Center.
After five straight points from Aaron Borich trimmed C of I's lead to 53-46 with 8:57 left, the Yotes held the Raiders to one field goal over the next seven minutes and went on a decisive 15-4 run. Senior center Matt Meyers scored a season-high 19 points in helping the Yotes to a 38-16 advantage in the paint.
C of I (28-5 overall), the tournament's No. 2 seed, clinched the CCC's second automatic bid to the NAIA Division II National Tournament. The Raiders, who pulled off two road upsets as the No. 6 seed to reach the final, finished at 21-11.
Tate Hoffman and Aaron Borich came off the bench to keep SOU in the game - Hoffman with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting, and Borich with 11 and a 3-of-5 display from 3-point range. Outside of Borich, the Raiders went 3-of-23 downtown.
Back-to-back buckets from Borich and Hoffman gave them an early 19-13 lead but Meyers wouldn't let them extend it any further. He shot 8-of-10 from the field, made a season-high three 3-pointers on as many attempts and poured in 16 during the first half.
C of I ended the first with a 15-6 spurt to go up 33-27. Meyers' backup, Connor DeSaulniers, shot 6-of-6 inside and scored eight of his 12 in the second half.
Nate Bruneel (11 points) and Talon Pinckney (10) joined them in double figures and combined for 19 after the break.
SOU point guard Tristen Holmes - in his 98th start and final game as a Raider - recorded eight points, eight assists and five rebounds. Jordan Hunt scored all eight of his points in the opening 14 minutes.
The game was also the last for seniors Matt Boudreaux and Tule O'Rourke. O'Rourke added six points on a pair of 3-point makes.