Reed outplayed the out-of-state school in nearly every aspect of the game during the second and third quarters. With all five players crashing the boards and running the length of the court, every rebound seemed to find a Raider's hands and every fast break seemed to result in an uncontested layup. That effort proved to be enough as Reed fended off Marshall for a 66-58 victory, its fourth in a row.
After both sides got off to a lethargic start, with Marshall holding an 8-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, which extended to a 12-9 advantage at the 6:32 mark of the second quarter, the Blue and Gold caught a burst of energy.
Using a stingy defensive effort that allowed no second chances to the Phoenix, Reed (5-4) took the contest over in the final minutes of the first half. The defense kick started the Raiders’ transition offense as they looked to run Marshall out of the gym.
Grabbing a defensive rebound, Reed guard Jonathan Stacy brought the ball down court, faked a shot and then sent a mid-air pass to a wide open Trae Wells underneath for an easy two. On the ensuing possession, Wells pulled down a rebound of his own before racing the length of the court, side-stepping a defender and laying home a bucket. The Raiders went on to add to the run as they strung together a 20-5 outburst over the closing six minutes of the quarter to seize a 29-17 lead at halftime.
“The second quarter we really kind of buckled down,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said. “The first quarter was slow. We only had five points the whole first quarter, but the second quarter they picked up the pace and really started rebounding the ball. Then we got out on transition and got some real easy looks and started to wear them down. They only had seven guys and we knew that coming in. There were two really good quarters where we were defending and rebounding and going. That was what probably won us the basketball game in the end.”
Out of the break, Marshall slowly began to claw its way back into the contest, eventually cutting the deficit to single-digits with the score at 31-24 with 6:21 on the third quarter clock. A minute later, a Stacy layup, followed by a pair of technicals in a matter of seconds to Marshall’s head coach, handed Reed four free points as Alonzo Vega sunk each free throw to push the lead to 37-24.
The techs to their coach seemed to fire up the Phoenix briefly as they scored six straight points to cut the score to 37-30. The gap stayed at seven points with the scoreboard reading 41-34 at the 2:15 mark, but eight unanswered points by the Raiders, including a triple from the corner by forward Devin Herbert, cushioned the lead to 49-34. A Marshall three left the score at 49-37 with eight minutes to play.
In the fourth, Reed extended its advantage to 57-41 with 5:37 left, but the Phoenix refused to die.
Rattling off a 15-4 run, supported by nine straight points from guard Jason Smith, Marshall trimmed the score to 61-56 with just over two minutes remaining. A layup by Reed senior guard Ty Shepard and free throws from Wells and Austin Corbett sealed the victory down the stretch though for the Raiders.
“Our ball movement at times was really good and we got some really easy looks out of it as a result, but then that fourth quarter guys just got stagnant and complacent. It was like we let our guard down and stopped playing,” Hall said of the close call. “We’re still struggling to knock down some shots on the perimeter. We’ve really been struggling perimeter wise, but we’re getting a lot of looks inside which is good.”
Wells led the Raiders in scoring with 16 points while Vega finished the night with 15. Deyraun Stamps tacked on 11 points, along with nine from Herbert.
Reed advances to the semifinals of the winner’s bracket where it will take on Galena today at Sparks High. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.