Oregon Tech's Josh Wiseman (Photo by Kelly Caleb)
ASHLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Tech Bench played a big role in helping the Hustlin' Owls snap a modest two-game losing skid as they outlasted New Hope Christian College, 77-72, Saturday night at the Flagship Inn Classic men's basketball tournament.
Tech had an 11-point lead, only to see the Deacons rally to cut their deficit to a single point and have a chance to take the lead.
A three-point shot by NHC's Drew Wiley that could have given the Deacons their first lead rimmed out, OIT pulled down the rebound and opened up its lead to get the win and up the Hustlin' Owls' record to 7-3.
OIT led from the outset, and was able to take its biggest lead late in the first half.
New Hope, which will play OIT in Klamath Falls on Monday, Dec. 10, was able to whittle away at the lead and managed cut its deficit to a single point three times in the second half., the last with just over two minutes to play when Wiley put up his three-point attempt.
Oregon Tech's ability to have an edge on the backboards was crucial to Saturday's victory, one that allowed the Hustlin' Owls to avoid going into Cascade Collegiate Conference play next weekend on a three-game losing streak.
Tech has not lost three straight games in sixth and one-half years.
David Clarke led OIT Saturday with 21 points, nine in the first half. Wiseman came back with 18 of his 19 points in the second half, with Josh Johnson and Mihajlo Matic also reaching double figures, and Zerbach a point shy.
Clarke and Zerbach each had seven OIT rebounds, and Clarke and Austen Flint both had four assists.
Oregon Tech will open up CCC play at Corban University on Friday at 7:30 pm in Salem, Ore.