In a contest that saw both sides knock down 10 triples apiece, with 13 coming in the second half, the Raiders rode the hot hand of Vega and teammate Trae Wells to victory. Vega scored all 20 of his points in the final two quarters, with 18 coming on six three-pointers. He and Wells accounted for all but two of the Raiders’ 39 second-half points en route to a 69-62 Division I North crossover league victory.
“Zo kind of busted out of his shell in that second half,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said of the Vega’s performance. “We see it everyday in practice. He’s such a good, natural scorer, but a lot of times he gets into foul trouble. Tonight though he was able to get into a flow and stay in the game. That was huge for him and for us.
“As for Trae, he’s just been playing real well. When he gets comfortable and finds his spot on the court, he can just score the ball in bunches.”
Reed (10-7, 6-4) entered the second half holding a slight 30-28 edge over the Senators, but both offenses were just getting going.
The Raiders opened the third quarter with a 10-3 run that temporarily handed the RHS squad the momentum with a 40-31 lead at the 5:27 mark of the third. Slowly though, the Senators began to crawl their way back into the contest.
Carson put together a short 11-6 spurt that cut the deficit down to 46-42 with just under two minutes to play in the quarter before a triple from Vega and a layup by Wells left the scoreboard reading 51-45 with just the last eight minutes remaining.
Reed again pushed its advantage to double digits with a pair of quick baskets on jumpers from the elbow by Wells, followed by a trey in the corner from Vega. That left the Raiders ahead 58-48 at 6:00. However, an 11-2 run by the Senators fueled by a trio of three-pointers left the game a one-score affair at 60-59 with 2:52 on the clock.
An exchange of threes pushed the score to 63-62 with 2:07 to play. Reed then closed out the contest with the game’s final six points, capped off by a dunk from Vega.
“Both teams had a lot of big runs, but we were able to knock down some shots in that second half,” Hall said. “I’d like to say we buckled down and got some stops, but we really didn’t. We just outscored them. Neither team was able to get too many stops. It was not a great defensive battle tonight.”
Along with the 20 points from Vega, Wells also helped lead the Raiders to victory with a team-high 25 points. Senior guards Devin Gray and Ty Shepard chipped in as well, adding 10 and seven points respectively.
Reed now will get set to host Hug on Friday with tip set for 7 p.m. Hall said he will be looking for improvement on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders.
“Offensively we’re starting to get a little more comfortable and we’re starting to get some chemistry. We’re starting to put more points on the board, which is exciting to see. On the flip side, defensively we’re not getting stops right now,” he said. “The Spanish Springs game, the Reno game, tonight’s game, we just haven’t been buckling down. We’re not getting those two or three stops in a row in order to kind of pull away. We have a lot of things to clean up defensively.”