Lincoln Turner erupted for 33 points, leading the Raiders to an 81-74 win over Damonte Ranch in Thursday’s home opener.
Reed improved to 4-5, 1-1 with their first DI North victory of the season while Damonte dropped to 2-8, 0-3.
“The way we’re looking at it, we’re .500 in league. We’re 1-1,” first-year Reed coach Zach Sanford said. “That’s good for us and a good start at home … I was happy with our effort tonight.”
Trailing 70-68 with 1:38 remaining, Reed forced a turnover and kicked it to a wide open Turner behind the arc. As he did all night, he connected, putting the Raiders up front 71-70 and they didn’t look back.
Reed scored the next eight points after Turner’s fifth triple, and hit all of its final eight free throws, to put the game on ice after trailing by as much as 13 in the first half.
“He (Turner) was aggressive and was looking to score,” Sanford said. “But he stepped into a leadership role like he should be and that’s what we expect of him all season.”
Turner was one of three Raiders to finish in double figures, along with Jeremy Ramos (14) and Matt Williams (12).
As big as Reed’s offense was, its defense was equally as sharp in the second half despite allowing 74 points.
Brett Cooper, one of the best players in Northern Nevada, went off for 15 points in the first half to spot the Mustangs a 41-36 lead at the break. In the second half, he was held to two field goals while hitting all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter.
“We talked about that one at halftime,” Sanford said. “You can only hope to try to slow him (Cooper) down. You’ll never stop him. As soon as he crosses half court he’s in range. We just made it tough for him (in the second half), we didn’t give him any open looks and I think they kind of went away from him … because of that.”
Cooper still managed to finish with a team-high 26 points. He was followed by 13 from Cameron Criss and 10 from Drew Damboise.
Turner scored the first five points of the second half to pull the Raiders even and the game was separated by six or fewer the rest of the way until Reed pulled away in the final minute.
The Mustangs grabbed their biggest lead of the night, 35-22, midway through the second quarter after a Criss bucket. Reed, however, scored 14 of the final 20 points in the half to trail by five going to the locker room.
The Raiders trailed 20-13 after the first quarter.
Reed will look to win its third-straight on Friday night at home against Douglas. Tip is at 7 p.m.
“We have a tough challenge and hopefully we’ll come out ready to go tomorrow,” Sanford said.