The UCC men’s basketball team lost a closely contested game against the Chemeketa Storm 81-78 Wednesday, March 1 in Roseburg, Oregon. Although the Riverhawks couldn’t get the win against the Storm, UCC finished the season well enough to earn a share of the Southern Region Championship and an opportunity to play against the Bellevue Bulldogs in the NWAC Tournament in Washington.
“I told the guys in the locker room that I’m very proud of this team and their effort,” head coach Daniel Leeworthy said. “I think we’ve got a team that’s built for a big run in the playoffs,” Leeworthy continued. “I told the guys it’s 0-0 no matter where we’re seeded, we’re all battle tested, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs.”
The matchup between the Riverhawks and the Bulldogs should be interesting to watch. Defense should tell the tale of this game. Bellevue’s defense comes into the tournament only allowing 73.1 points per game. While UCC’s defense allows 78.5 points per game, the Riverhawks will have Defensive Player of the Year Jouvon Edison on their side. Edison averages 1.93 blocks per game, ranking second in the NWAC. Bellevue will have a tough time scoring, as the Bulldogs come into the game only scoring 74.76 points per game.
Bellevue has two players averaging more than double digits in scoring. The Bulldogs sophomore point guard Jordan Muir-Keung is the team’s leading scorer at 16.52 point per game. Coming in just behind Muir-Keung is sophomore guard Taylor Freeman, scoring at the rate of 16.21 points per game on 43 percent shooting.
UCC’s offense will be led by Southern Region Most Valuable Player Grant Ellison. The freshman guard averages 20.17 points per game on 51 percent shooting. Ellison also shoots 44 percent from the 3-pt line. The Riverhawks second leading scorer is sophomore Jacob Danhoff. Danhoff scores 14.74 points per game and grabs 9.78 rebounds per game. Danhoff was also named to the second All-Southern Region team.
“Hopefully we can achieve what we set out to achieve at the start of the season,” UCC guard Ethan Betts said. “We know we have to be clicking on all cylinders from here on out,” Betts said. “We need to give 110 percent effort, and make sure we’re ready because it could be our last game.”
The Riverhawks will meet up against the Bulldogs on Thursday, March 9 at 12 p.m. at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center in Everett, WA for a chance to move onto the Elite Eight to play either the South Pugent Sound Clippers or the Big Bend Vikings on Friday, March 10 at 4 p.m.