The first time the two teams met, on Dec. 13, the Buckaroos convincingly handed the Raiders their first loss of the season, 65-46. On Saturday, Lowry ended Reed’s eight-game winning streak with a 55-53 win on Reed’s home floor.
“We had some guys out of position a little bit tonight,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said. “It’s tough to get the game going, they (Lowry) are so big and physical that we have to send fives guys to the glass every time. It was a little tougher to get going in transition just because they are so big and physical… It was definitely a slower pace than we’re accustomed to.”
The Raiders’ 53 points is their lowest scoring output since a Dec. 19, 50-48, win over Reno – the team’s sixth game of the season. A contributing factor to Reed’s low scoring was the absence of Trae Wells, the team’s second-leading scorer. Wells sprained his ankle in Friday night’s win over Bishop Manogue and did not suit up.
Alonzo Vega turned in his best offensive game of the year in Wells' absence and finished with a game-high 30 points. His three pointer with 2:04 left put Reed in front 51-46 only to see the guests finish the game on a 9-2 run to steal the win.
“We talked to him (Vega) with Trae (Wells) out and he knew he had to step up and be a little more assertive and it was great to see,” Hall said. “I thought he was just aggressive at all times, played real strong and went through a lot of contact. If he can carry that over when (Wells) gets back I think we’ll be alright.”
After a pair of Vega free throws tied the game at 53 with 48.7 seconds left, Lowry’s Delane Black hit a runner in the paint with 20 seconds left.
Hall called a timeout trailing by two and drew up a play for Jamel Ramos to take a would-be game-winning three in the corner. But Lowry anticipated the corner shot and Ramos was forced to improvise with three seconds remaining. He could not connect on the three-pointer with a pair of hands in face and Reed was stuck with its first loss since Dec. 27.
Ramos finished with 15 points.
The Raiders held a six-point lead in the first quarter and separate five-point leads in the second, third and fourth quarter but trailed at the end of each period.
Midway through the third quarter, Reed led 31-26 only to see Lowry go on 12-2 run to take 38-33 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“They (Lowry) are a good team. They aren’t going to be phased by any of that (trailing in each quarter),” Hall said. “There was a run in third quarter, it was like a 12-0 run and that one really hurt us because we had some momentum… Then we just started turning the ball over, we stopped attacking and they really got on top of us.”
The Raiders responded to Lowry’s 12-2 run with a 7-0 run to grab a 40-38 lead early in the fourth quarter before the Buckaroos’ late push.
Black, who hit the game-winner with 20 seconds left, finished with a team-high 15 points, nine in the fourth quarter.
Reed fell to 14-4 overall but remains 7-0 in league contests. Lowry, regarded as one of the best teams in the North regardless of classification, improved to 15-2 and is 6-1 in the DI-A North.
Reed jumps back into league play Tuesday at Spanish Springs (10-7, 5-2) for the first leg of the Sparks rivalry.
“What this does is hopefully wakes them up a little bit, it’s just no fun to lose. We told them if you don’t like this feeling, you’re definitely not going to like it if you lose to Spanish Springs on Tuesday,” Hall said. “So I think a lot of good will come out of this. There is nothing really negative besides losing the game. It’s all positive coming out. We are going to learn a lot.”
The Raiders and Cougars tip off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Wells said he plans to play against Spanish Springs after sitting out Saturday.