ST. LOUIS — The reigning NJCAA Player of the Week did it again.
Three Rivers leading scorer Lamar Wilkerson got hot with about 15 minutes left in the game and made five 3-pointers in short order to spark the Raiders to an 83-64 win over Saint Louis CC on Wednesday in St. Louis.
The Raiders (4-1) were 6 for 13 on 3-pointers in the second half, and Wilkerson made five of those as he finished with a season-high 32 points on 6 for 12 from beyond the arc.
The offense was also buoyed by a renewed effort on rebounds. Three Rivers was being outrebounded by 11 at halftime and finished plus-1 on the boards. Dominique Hardimon and Keith Kiner were consistently grabbing those rebounds.
Kiner finished with a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Hardimon had 18 points and seven, including a pair of three-point plays in the second half.
"We really needed (Hardimon and Wilkerson). That was quite a challenge tonight. They were well-coached," Three Rivers coach Brian Bess said. "I was proud of Keith (Kiner) as well. When he and Dom are getting rebounds, it makes it easier on our shooters."
After holding a small lead through the first half, St. Louis went ahead a couple of minutes into the second.
A few minutes later, Hardimon scored in traffic, got a steal, and scored through a foul to put the Raiders ahead by five.
Soon after, the Archer defense collapsed on Hardimon, and he kicked out to Wilkerson for a 3.
The pace of play kicked up dramatically as Wilkerson nailed four straight 3-pointers for a 12-1 Raider run to put them ahead 62-51.
Despite the Archers trying to faceguard Wilkerson and prevent him from catching the ball, he still managed to get open.
"We tried to run everything on penetration. Either they've got to help, or we're going to get a layup," Bess said. "He was still open. I don't know how he was still open."
After a STLCC timeout, Wilkerson made another 3, but it got waved off because he was called for charging.
He grabbed a steal on the following possession, gave it up, got it back, and made another 3 for his fifth in the second half.
Wilkerson missed a 3, but Kevin Jones got in on the action with a 3 to put the Raiders ahead by 17 as the clock passed the 10-minute mark.
Near the 6-minute mark, Wilkerson drove and finished a reverse layup, putting Three Rivers ahead 73-58, and the Archers called a timeout.
Out of the break, Jones drove and handed off to Hardimon for a three-point play.
Kiner soon put the Raiders ahead by 20 on a pick-and-roll, and the Raiders led comfortably until the buzzer.
Trayvon Robinson led Saint Louis (2-3) with 13 points, and Jacques Thomas got 11.
The Raiders finished plus-25 in points off turnovers, plus-four on points in the paint, plus-five on second-chance points, but minus-14 on bench points.
Three Rivers did not have Brahm Harris after Harris injured his ankle in the John A Logan game. Bess said he might play against Link Year Prep on Saturday at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
Link Year Prep recently beat Moberly Area 93-82, knocking the Greyhounds out of the national rankings.
The 4 p.m. tip will be the Raiders' first home game since their opener on Jan. 23. Three Rivers will play three home games between Feb. 6-13, including Region XVI games against State Fair on Feb. 10 and MSU-West Plains on Feb. 13.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic