WINCHESTER — Hyperbole (noun): exaggerated statements or claims not to be taken literally.

Umpqua Community College sophomore guard Tanner Quinton went hyperbolic for a brief moment Wednesday night, and the Riverhawks were right back on track.

The 6-foot sophomore guard from Cardston, Alberta, Canada, took a deep outlet pass from fellow sophomore Brock Gilbert, dribbled twice and threw down an emphatic left-handed dunk as part of a power surge that propelled Umpqua to an 83-58 Northwest Athletic Conference South Region win over Linn-Benton of Albany Wednesday night.

“(The eyes) got pretty big. That doesn’t happen very often for me,” Quinton said. “I even heard coach say, ‘Tanner, dunk it!’ but there was no question, I was going to anyway.”

Quinton’s highlight-reel moment came in the midst of a 26-2 run early in the second half as the Riverhawks — who clinched an NWAC playoff berth with the victory — pulled away from the visiting Roadrunners.

The Riverhawks were coming off an 84-83 loss at Portland Saturday, which ultimately dropped them out of a first-place tie with Clackamas in the South Region and from No. 3 to No. 7 in the NWAC rankings.

Linn-Benton, trailing 44-30 at intermission, hit two quick buckets to open the second half and cut Umpqua’s lead to 44-35, but the ‘Hawks clamped down their defense, got into their transition game and with Hayden Wood’s 3-pointer with eight minutes left pushed the ‘Hawks out to a 70-37 lead to all but end the game.

“I think we got that swagger back tonight,” UCC coach Daniel Leeworthy said. “Our emphasis was getting into a good rhythm and flow, and I think we did that tonight.

“This was an important win for us tonight. It got us pointed in the right direction.”

Kolten Mortensen had 17 points and six rebounds to lead the ’Hawks (22-3, 10-2 South). Nine of those points came early in the aforementioned scoring run to help put the game out of reach.

Cameron Benzel had seven of his 11 points in the first half as Umpqua tried to push the pace of the game, and 3-pointers by Cody Fredrickson and Spencer Campbell — at the halftime buzzer — pushed the Riverhawks to a 44-30 lead.

Umpqua outscored Linn-Benton 54-12 in the paint.

“We had spurts in the first half where we showed signs of being back, but in the second half when we went on that big run, that was where we were back to playing Riverhawk basketball,” Quinton said.

Benzel also had five rebounds and two blocked shots for the ‘Hawks, while Quinton scored 11 points, Spencer Campbell hit for nine points, and Akoi Yout and Hayden Wood scored 10 and nine, respectively, off the bench. Gilbert had nine assists and Ben Perry dished four dimes also for Umpqua.

Kyree Davis led the Roadrunners with 22 points while Kadeem Nelson added 21, including four 3-pointers in the second half.

Umpqua visits Mount Hood (11-13, 5-7 South) Saturday.

LINN-BENTON (58) — Kyree Davis 8-21 5-8 22, Nelson 6-17 5-9 21, Harding IV 1-7 1-2 3, Wilmes 1-5 0-0 2, Kurahara 2-4 1-2 7, Carley 0-0 0-0 0, Flanigan 0-0 0-0 0, Cullison 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 19-58 13-23 58.

UMPQUA (83) — Kolten Mortensen 7-10 3-4 17, Gilbert 2-7 0-0 4, Lungren 1-3 2-2 4, Fredrickson 2-4 0-0 5, Benzel 4-5 2-2 11, Perry 0-0 0-0 0, Quinton 4-5 3-4 11, Campbell 4-6 0-0 9, Love 1-2 1-2 3, Wood 2-2 4-4 9, Yuot 5-9 0-0 10, Hubbard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-56 15-18 83.

Halftime — UCC 44-30. 3-Point Goals — LBCC 7-13 (Nelson 4-7, Davis 1-2, Kurahara 2-4), UCC 4-17 (Benzel 1-1, Wood 1-1, Campbell 1-2, Fredrickson 1-3, Lungren 0-1, Yuot 0-1, Gilbert 0-2, Mortensen 0-3, Hubbard 0-3). Total Fouls — LBCC 16, UCC 17. Fouled Out — Harding IV. Rebounds — LBCC 27 (Nelson, Kurahara 6), UCC 35 (Mortensen 6). Assists — LBCC 4 (Nelson 3), UCC 21 (Gilbert 9). Turnovers — LBCC 11, UCC 15.

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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