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Out of East, Mountaineers pose threat

On College Hoops
by: , CAROLLO

In a league dominated by Oregon Tech over the last decade, and won by Warner Pacific the past two years, a new team has arisen.

Eastern Oregon, coming off its best season, has routed the two Cascade Conference powerhouses and climbed to No. 6 in the NAIA Division II rankings.

The Mountaineers are 11-1 (4-0 Cascade). They beat Oregon Tech by 15 points and then handily dispatched Warner Pacific 89-64.

It was sweet revenge for coach Ryan Looney and his team. The Knights beat Eastern Oregon 58-51 for the Cascade tournament title last March, holding the Mountaineers to 14 second-half points.

Eastern finished 23-8, and was left out of the national tournament (Warner Pacific, by winning the conference tourney, and OIT, via an at-large berth, got D-II berths).

'So, to be honest, our guys had been waiting for six months' to get another shot at Warner Pacific, Looney says. 'It was a little bit of a bitter taste. We ended up being the team on the outside looking in. We figured (23-8) was like the 12th-best overall record in the country.'

Brothers Mark and Paul Carollo, both 6-5 and from Hermiston, lead the Mountaineers. Mark Carollo, a senior, is averaging 17.4 points and 6.3 rebounds. Paul Carollo, a junior and the Cascade's leading rebounder last season, is averaging 7.3 rebounds.

Kyle Janke is scoring 12.4 points and shooting .642. Neil Fryer is scoring at 12.5. Jeremy Templeton is the playmaker, averaging 5.1 assists.

• The Cascade tourney champ automatically qualifies for nationals, and the NAIA also takes at-large teams based on rankings. So there is hope for OIT, Warner Pacific and Eastern - all three were ranked in the most recent NAIA D-II poll.

• Warner continues to score (86 points per game), but the defense has not been good -going into last weekend, the Knights were giving up 82.5, 10th out of 11 conference teams.

Guard Scott O'Gallagher was again leading the league in scoring at 21.3 points per game.

• Portland State has fallen to 7-7 overall after losing for the fourth time in the past five games, 76-73 in overtime to visiting San Jose State on Friday. One problem: The Vikings have made only 22 of 48 free throws (.458) the past three games. Jeremiah Dominguez had 27 points on Friday, hitting 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

• Oregon enters Pac-10 play at 9-3 after beating visiting Mount St. Mary's 81-73. Malik Hairston and Maarty Leunen combined for 50 points on 17-for-19 shooting. But the big positive: Reserve big man Frantz Dorsainvil had 10 points, making five of six shots in 18 productive minutes, as he took over for Joevan Catron, who has a foot injury. The Ducks need Dorsainvil, guard Kamyron Brown and forward LeKendric Longmire to play well off the bench.