Whitman College Men's Basketball

2000-2001 Season -- Game Summaries

Saturday, November 18
Westmont College 64, Whitman 63

Facing NAIA Division I powerhouse Westmont College in it season opener, the Whitman men's basketball team came up a bucket short Saturday night at Sherwood Center, falling 64-63.

Westmont, which lost its opener Friday night at Whitworth, jumped to a 32-21 halftime lead against Whitman and looked to be steamrolling toward victory. The visiting Warriors outrebounded the Missionaries 25-16 in the half while burying five 3-pointers.

"We came out a step slow in the first half," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "We really hurt ourselves on the boards, and we didn't knock down our shots." The Missionaries made just eight of 27 shots from the floor in the opening half.

The final 20 minutes were a different story, however, as Whitman's play turned more aggressive. "We played hard defensively against a very good offensive team," Molitor said. "Westmont back cuts as well as any team in the nation but we stuck it to them in the second half."

Whitman's comeback was fueled in part by the play of junior big man Rob Bell, who scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. "Rob made a statement tonight," Molitor said. "We did a good job getting him the ball and he did a good job knowing where to put it." Bell also led the Missionaries with seven rebounds.

Ben Fuller, a junior point guard playing his first season at Whitman, also stepped up his game in the second half. Fuller finished with 16 points, hitting six of nine shots from the floor. He added three assists and three steals.

Mark Bouma chipped in ten points and seven rebounds in what Molitor called a typical game for the sophomore. "Bouma is Bouma -- he just does everything well," Molitor said.

Senior Jason Berry helped out with seven rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes of play, while Walla Walla freshman Bryan Erlebach showed signs of things to come in his first collegiate game, tallying four points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes.

"Our two freshman both played well tonight," Molitor said. "Bryan really impressed us with his passes and court awareness, and Jake Pounds knocked down a couple big shots." Pounds scored six points, both three pointers, in 15 minutes.

In the closing seconds the Missionaries rallied. Trailing 63-58 with 23 seconds to play, Fuller went coast-to-coast for an easy lay-in that brought the game within three. Westmont knocked down one of two free-throws on the ensuing possession before Pounds hit his second three of the night, an off-the-glass bank shot from two feet beyond the arc to bring the Missionaries within one just before the buzzer.

Whitman played without sophomore starter Rich Harris, who missed the game due to health problems. A second starter, senior Peter Rutledge, played limited minutes as he recuperates from a bad back.

Westmont was led by Mitch Pierce with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Corey Blick had ten points for the Warriors, while Robin Eley poured in 15 points on four of six shooting from outside the arc.

"Other than coming up a bucket short at the end, we had a lot of positives out of this game," Molitor said.

Whitman travels to Nampa, Idaho, next Saturday to play Northwest Nazarene University before coming home the following weekend for the Wildhorse Resort Classic.

Box score

Saturday, November 25
Northwest Nazarene 73, Whitman 51

With 13 players scoring, Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) rallied from a five-point first-half deficit and pinned a 73-51 nonconference defeat on the Whitman men's basketball team Saturday night in Nampa, Idaho.

The Crusaders, an NCAA Div. II school, improved to 2-1 on the young season while the Division III Missionaries dropped to 0-2.

"We played well for most of the first half and led until we hit a cold spell with about five minutes left," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. A 25-20 Missionary lead soon evaporated, however, as the Crusaders closed out the half on a 13-2 run to lead 33-27 at the break.

"Unfortunately for us, nothing good happened in the second half," Molitor added. "We missed shots and turned the ball over. They hit some shots and got away from us pretty quickly."

NNU, which returns four starters from a year ago, was bolstered in the offseason by the transfer of three Division I players. One of the three, 6-foot-5 sophomore Kevin Richard, stung Whitman for 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in just 11 minutes of court time. A second transfer, 7-foot Michael Gely of Toulouse, France, blocked five shots and grabbed five rebounds to go with four points. Josh Cooprider, a 6-foot guard, topped all scorers with 23 points.

Juniors Rob Bell and Ben Fuller paced the Missionaries with 13 points apiece. Bell, Whitman's 6-foot-8 center, also collared seven rebounds and handed out three assists. Fuller, a 6-foot-3 junior point guard, had four rebounds and four steals.

Peter Rutledge added 10 points for the Missionaries in just 16 minutes off the bench. A projected starter at power forward, Rutledge has been slowed early in the season by a back problem. Rich Harris, also a projected starter for Whitman, missed his second straight game because of an irregular heart beat.

The only other Missionary making a significant dent in the scoring column was senior Leonard Harmon, who finished with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Whitman, which led for much of the first half before falling behind 33-27 at the break, made just 28 percent of its second-half shots. The Missionaries were 19 of 61 from the floor for the game, or 31.1 percent. The Crusaders shot 43.3 percent.

The two teams were dead even on the backboards, with both clubs grabbing 40 rebounds.

Box score

Saturday, December 2
Wildhorse Resort Classic
Eastern Oregon 89, Whitman 74

One night after pasting a 16-point defeat on Whitworth, Eastern Oregon University (EOU) rolled to a 15-point victory over Whitman Saturday night in the opening game of the annual Wildhorse Resort Classic in Sherwood Center.

The Mountaineers led by eight points at halftime and shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half to post an 89-74 victory over the Missionaries. EOU shot nearly 53 percent for the night and made eight of its 15 3-point attempts.

Whitman dropped to 0-3 on the season while Eastern Oregon improved to 3-2

Eastern Oregon's Maco Hamilton, the MVP in last year's tournament, paced the Mountaineers Saturday night with 18 points. Three of his teammates also scored in double figures.

"The most disappointing aspect for us was that we let them shoot better than 50 percent as a team," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "They are a good team, and they were shooting the ball with confidence after a big win last night over Whitworth. But we still need to defend better than what we did tonight."

The Missionaries jumped in front early, leading 7-4 and then 13-10 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Whitman held its last lead, 18-16, at the 9:03 mark of the opening half. At that point Eastern Oregon reeled off a 14-3 run over the next two minutes take control for good.

Down 43-35 at the break, Whitman closed the gap to four points early in the second half. Eastern Oregon fired back, however, and stretched its lead to as many as 15 points, 65-50, with 11 minutes left to play. The Missionaries stayed within reach the rest of way, trailing by as few as eight points, 76-68, with 2:43 left.

Whitman senior Leonard Harmon, who scored a tournament record 50 points in two games in last year's classic, led the Missionaries Saturday with a game-high 19 points. Harmon, who canned five of 10 3-point shots, also grabbed four rebounds and three steals.

Rob Bell, Whitman's 6-foot-8 junior post, added 16 points, converting six of 12 shots from the floor and four of five from the free throw line. Ben Fuller contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists from the point guard's spot.

Sophomore Mark Bouma also had a solid game for the Missionaries, combining eight points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Peter Rutledge, slowed in Whitman's first two games by back problems, had four points and four rebounds as he started his first game and played 24 minutes, his longest stint so far. The brawny 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior showed glimpses of an inside power game that pleased Molitor. "Peter was a bit rusty tonight, but he's going to be a big load once he gets his rhythm."

Sophomore guard Rich Harris, another projected starter, saw his first action of the season, making four of seven shots from the floor and scored nine points in 19 minutes. Harris missed the first two games because of irregular heartbeat. "For someone who was playing his first game and has been off for a few weeks, Rich did a great job and gave us a big lift," Molitor said. "It's great to have him back."

EOU outrebounded Whitman 39-32, but the Missonaries forced 20 turnovers while committing just nine of their own. "That was the most encouraging point about tonight's game," Molitor said. "They have a very quick team, but we did a great job of taking care of the ball."

Box score

Saturday, December 2
Wildhorse Resort Classic
Lewis-Clark State 82, Walla Walla College 59

Box score

Sunday, December 3
Wildhorse Resort Classic
Consolation Final
Whitman 78, Walla Walla College 72

Leading from start to finish, the Whitman College men's basketball team tallied its first victory of the young season with a 78-72 victory over Walla Walla College in Sunday's consolation final of the sixth annual Wildhorse Casino Resort Classic.

The victory in Sherwood Center improves Whitman's record to 1-3 heading into its first conference game this Wednesday at Whitworth College. The loss drops the Wolves season record to 1-5.

Powered by a strong showing from senior guard Leonard Harmon, the Missionaries led by as many as 15 in the first half and took a 32-28 lead into intermission. Harmon finished with a tournament record 35 points, breaking the previous mark of 33 he set in last year's tournament against the Wolves.

Harmon, who scored 19 points in Saturday's game against Eastern Oregon, also set a new two-game tournament record of 54 points, breaking his record of 50 from last December. His 13 field goals Sunday also set a new one-game tournament standard, as did his seven 3-pointers. "Leonard got good looks at the basket," Missionary coach Skip Molitor said, "and we all know he's not gunshy."

Playing against a full-court pressure style of defense, the Missionaries felt fortunate to end the first half with a lead. "Walla Walla plays hard," Molitor said. "They cause so many problems and they just don't let up."

The Missionaries were a paltry three for 12 from the free-throw line in the first half. "We walked into the locker room at half-time and there were a lot of red faces," Molitor said. "But the team did a good job of coming out in the second half with a lot of composure and we managed to last it out."

With starter Ben Fuller watching the game from the sidelines because of religious conflicts, the Missionaries were hampered by foul trouble throughout the second half. "We hurt ourselves as a starting unit," Molitor said. "But the subs did a good job in relief and really kept us in good shape. Bryan Erlebach and Jack Storti in particular had real good floor games in handling the pressure."

Erlebach had four assists and a steal in 16 minutes of action.

Jason Berry also had a big game down the stretch for the Missionaries. The senior forward had seven points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 21 minutes as a reserve. He was five of six from the free-throw line, making all four of his shots from the line in the closing minutes to seal the victory. "Jason really stepped it up at the line tonight," Molitor said. "With Harris and Bell struggling on their free throws, Berry was real big for us."

Mark Bouma finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Peter Rutledge had ten points and eight rebounds, while Rob Bell had a game-high 12 boards. Still recovering from a bad back that held him out of much of the preseason, Rutledge continues to improve. "For Pete it was another step in the right direction," Molitor said. "He continues to get more comfortable in the post; and the stamina will come with more minutes."

Kurtis Meidinger led the Wolves with 14 points, while teammate Andrew Carroll had 12.

As a team Whitman was 46 percent from the field, while the Wolves shot only 29 percent from the floor. Both teams struggled from the free throw line. The Missionaries finished 14 of 29, or 48 percent. Walla Walla College was not much better at 23 of 39, or 59 percent.

Box score

Sunday, December 3
Wildhorse Resort Classic
Championship Final
Lewis-Clark State 65, Eastern Oregon 51

Showing its might in the final 20 minutes, Lewis-Clark State College pulled away from a 24-24 halftime deadlock to defeat Eastern Oregon University 65-51 in the championship game of the Wildhorse Resort Classic Sunday night in Sherwood Center.

The victory gave the Warriors a 6-2 season record, while the Mountaineers fell to 3-3 with the loss.

LCSC's Jared Price led all scorers with 19 points, canning six of eight shots from the field, including four of six from three-point land. Price, who took home the tournament Most Valuable Player trophy, also was six of eight from Saturday in scoring 21 points to lead the Warriors past Walla Walla College in an opening round game.

Brian Meneely, one of Price's teammates, also made the all-tournament team with two solid outings. Meneely scored 22 points in his two games, making seven of 10 shots from the floor, including five of seven 3-pointers. He also had seven assists.

Eastern Oregon's Luke Swanson scored 18 points Sunday against LCSC and was the only Mountaineer scoring in double figures. Swanson also made the all-tourney team along with one of his teammates, Jeremy McLean, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds in his two games.

Rounding out the all-tournament team were Whitman's Leonard Harmon, who broke his own tournament scoring record with 54 points in two games, and Walla Walla's Andrew Carroll, who combined 22 points and seven rebounds in his two outings. Harmon also snatched nine rebounds and six steals in the tournament.

Box score

Wednesday, December 6
Whitworth 81, Whitman 70

Bidding to knock off Whitworth on its home floor, the Whitman men's basketball team came up short in the second half and dropped an 81-70 decision to the Pirates in Spokane Wednesday night. The game was the Northwest Conference opener for both schools.

The Missionaries outrebounded the Pirates 30-14 in the first half and led 38-37 at the break. Up 50-48 five minutes into the second half, Whitworth used an 11-1 spurt to move in front 61-49. Whitman pulled as close as 66-60, but the Pirates made 14 of 18 second-half free throws to stay in front.

Leonard Harmon paced Whitman with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. In just 22 minutes off the bench, sophomore Rich Harris added 14 points, making six of 11 shots from the floor, including both of his 3-point attempts. Mark Bouma, also a sophomore, scored 12 points, hitting four of six shots from the field, while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds.

Starting point guard Ben Fuller, who eventually fouled out, played just 16 minutes and scored six points to go with four assists.

The Missionaries, who were whistled for nearly twice as many fouls as Whitworth, were outscored by 13 points at the free throw line. Whitman finished with 47 rebounds, 12 more than the Pirates.

Whitworth forced the Missionaries into 17 turnovers, five more than it committed. As a team, the Pirates shot 46.6 percent from the floor. Whitman was 38.6 percent from the field.

Box score

Saturday, December 9
Carroll 71, Whitman 69

Despite playing possibly its best game of the young season, the Whitman men's basketball fell two points short in dropping a 71-69 decision to Montana's Carroll College Saturday night in Sherwood Center.

Carroll, which edged Whitworth by four points Friday night in Spokane, improved to 10-2 on the season. The Fighting Saints just missed cracking the Top 25 earlier this week when the first NAIA Div. I national poll was released.

Whitman, which has lost games by one and two points, fell to 1-5 on the season. The Missionaries jump from the frying pan into the fire next Sunday, Dec. 17, when they play at the University of Montana, an NCAA Div. I school.

Whitman led by as many 11 points in the first half and held a 36-32 lead over Carroll at the break. The Saints took charge at the outset of the second half, however, scoring the first nine points on a trio of 3-pointers to grab a 41-36 lead. The two teams deadlocked at 43 and again at 50, and while Carroll pulled away for a 57-50 lead at the 10:16 mark, Whitman rallied to knot the score a third time at 61-61 with seven minutes remaining.

Whitman's Leonard Harmon, who led all scorers with 19 points, converted a pair of free throws with 6:24 on the clock to give the Missionaries a 63-61 advantage. Carroll responded with a seven-point run to reclaim the lead for good, but there was plenty of drama remaining in the closing minutes.

Other than a single free throw, the Missionaries held Carroll scoreless over the final 2:30 to give themselves a shot at the win. Rob Bell's offensive rebound and putback, coupled with Ben Fuller's two free throws, cut Carroll's lead to 70-69 with 28 seconds left.

Kirk Stiles, who led the Saints with 18 points, made the first of two free throws with 26 remaining widen the slim gap to 71-69. Whitman had a chance to tie, but an outside jumper at the 14-second mark was off target, forcing the Missionaries to foul again.

After Carroll's Shane Gamradt missed the front end of his one-and-one opportunity, a Whitman outlet pass was picked off, forcing another Whitman foul. With seven seconds still on the clock, J.D. Solomon missed both of his free throws, but Carroll's only rebounder in the lane managed to swat the second miss to one of his teammates on the perimeter.

The Saints, who had now missed four straight charity tosses, weren't done yet. Gamradt missed two more with four seconds left, giving Whitman one final shot at victory. The outlet pass went to Fuller, who raced past the mid-court stripe and launched a twisting shot from about 30 feet that hit iron but failed to drop.

Despite the disappointing loss, Whitman coach Skip Molitor pointed to "all of the encouraging things we did tonight. The most encouraging point was that when we fell behind by seven points in the second half, our guys were very determined not to let the game get away from them. They came back strong and gave themselves a chance to beat a very high quality opponent."

"We made a couple of mistakes down the stretch, but at least we got ourselves to the stretch with a shot to win it," Molitor added. "We also had a few breaks go against us, a bad call and a bad bounce or two. They get the one tipped rebound at the end, but the ball just happened to bounce to a spot where their one rebounder could tip it."

The Missionaries showed great balance in the scoring column. In addition to Harmon's 19 points, Fuller added 16 while Bell and Peter Rutledge chipped in with 12 points each. Bell and Rutledge were a combined 11 of 15 from the floor. Bell also collected nine rebounds.

Fuller, a junior transfer, enjoyed his best all-around night of the season, posting game-high numbers in rebounds with 11, assists with seven and steals with five. The 6-foot-3 point guard also committed just two turnovers while helping hound the Saints into 15 miscues.

"This was a tough loss for us, but we did a lot of good things against a very good team," Molitor said. "We outrebounded them (38-35) and we forced them into more turnovers. What they did do was make a lot of big shots in the second half, and that's what gave them the chance to win."

Carroll drilled nine 3-pointers, four more than the Missionaries.

Solomon, Carroll's 6-foot-7 all-conference post player, was held to just 12 points. He entered the contest averaging 20-plus points.

Whitman held the upper hand throughout much of the first half. With Carroll leading 11-8 in the early going, the sharp-shooting Missionaries used a 15-2 run to lead 23-13 with 13 minutes remaining before intermission. Harmon rifled home three 3-pointers during the spurt, while Fuller canned a pair of free throws and slipped away on a steal for a break-away dunk. At that point, Whitman had made eight of its first 11 shots from the floor.

Whitman inched in front 26-15 at the 8:37 mark of the first half, but Carroll benefited from a rare five-point scoring play to quickly cut into that lead. With 8:02 on the clock, Chris Berry made a 3-pointer as Solomon was drawing a rebounding foul. Solomon then canned both free throws, and the Saints finished the half by making eight of nine free throws.

Box score

Sunday, December 17
Montana 86, Whitman 55

Playing without two starters against the University of Montana, the Whitman men's basketball team struggled to an 86-55 loss Sunday afternoon in Missoula.

The Missionaries grabbed their only lead when senior forward Peter Rutledge opened the scoring with a dunk 17 seconds into the contest. The Grizzlies responded with a pair of 3- pointers to claim the lead for good. Whitman stayed close and trailed by just two points, 11- 9, when Rutledge completed a 3-point play with 16 minutes left in the first half.

At that point, however, the NCAA Div. I Grizzlies pulled away on 14-0 run and kept their lead in double digits the rest of the way. Montana led 51-28 at the break.

Rutledge hit four of seven shots from the floor, and converted all five of his free throws, to lead the Missionaries with 13 points in 23 minutes of court time. His partner along the frontline, junior Rob Bell, also played 23 minutes, making four of his six shots from the floor en route to 10 points. "Both Peter and Rob were very effective in scoring the ball close to the basket against some imposing players," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said.

Whitman sophomore Mark Bouma, who played his high school ball in Conrad, Mont., had to work harder for his 10 points, but he also snatched a game-high 11 rebounds. "Montana is Mark's home state, so I'm sure he enjoyed getting a double-double against the Grizzlies," Molitor said.

Leonard Harmon added eight points for the Missionaries, while freshmen Bryan Erlebach and Jake Pounds each chipped in with six points. Making his first collegiate start, Erlebach also had five assists. Junior point guard Ben Fuller missed the game because he doesn't play on Sundays because of his religious beliefs, and sophomore Rich Harris was sidelined with an irregular heartbeat.

"Bryan did a very good job at the point under the circumstances," Molitor said. "He maintained his composure and did what he was supposed to do. He handled their pressure, distributed the ball and did a nice job defensively."

Whitman had the most difficulty holding its own on the backboards. The Grizzlies enjoyed a 43-24 advantage on the glass, thanks in part to 14 offensive rebounds. "One plus for us is that we forced a team of that caliber into 20 turnovers," Molitor said.

Box score

Wednesday, December 27
Whitman 82, Webster 69
D-III Desert Shootout, Las Vegas, Nevada

With four of its starters scoring in double figures, the Whitman men's basketball team rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to whip Webster University 82-69 Wednesday night in the D-III Desert Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev.

"I was very pleased with our second half," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "Webster shot the ball very well from the perimeter in the first 20 minutes, but we got out and guarded some people in the second half and continued to board the ball well. At the same time we continued to have a nice game at the offensive end. We shot the ball well, both inside and outside, and shot 50 percent from the field as a team for the first time this season. That was encouraging."

The Missionaries improved to 2-6 on the season and conclude their Las Vegas trip on Friday with a 4:30 p.m. game against Nebraska Wesleyan University. The Desert Shootout games are being played on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Whitman senior Leonard Harmon paced Wednesday's victory with 25 points in 29 minutes of playing time. Harmon, who began the week averaging 15.9 points, scored 18 of his points in the second half, helping the Missionaries rally from a 43-39 halftime deficit.

Harmon got plenty of support from junior post Rob Bell and sophomore forward Mark Bouma, each of whom posted a double-double on the stat sheet. Bell combined 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Bouma had 14 points and 10 rebounds along with four assists and three steals. It was Bouma's second consecutive double-double and his third of the season.

"Both Rob and Mark had solid games," Molitor said. "This was Rob's most impressive game of the season, along with the effort he had against Westmont in our opener, and Mark continues to play well and hard.">/p>

Junior point guard Ben Fuller added 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Senior forward Peter Rutledge contributed seven points, five boards and three assists.

Whitman's five starters combined to make 30 of 55 shots from the floor. As a team, the Missionaries shot 51.5 percent from the field in the first half, and 51.6 percent in the second stanza.

Webster canned eight of 15 shots from the 3-point line in building its first-half lead. The Gorlocks made just three of 16 shots from long range after the break as Whitman pulled away. Webster, which saw its record fall to 2-7 on the season, shot 36.8 percent from the floor for the game.

"Webster isn't off to a great start this season, but a lot of their guys were part of the club that went 17-8 last year," Molitor said. "They have a good team, one that would certainly be competitive in our conference."

Webster's Jeff Reis, a senior guard who entered the game averaging 24.6 points and 5.63 rebounds, finished with 24 points and five boards. Rich Haskell with 15 points was the only other Gorlock in double figures.

Whitman outboarded Webster 40 to 28 and had six more assists.

The Missionaries played without sophomore guard Rich Harris, a projected starter this season who has been slowed by an irregular heartbeat.

Bryan Erlebach, a freshman from Walla Walla, helped fill the void left by Harris. Playing almost 20 minutes, Erlebach finished with four points, making two of five shots from the field, while handing out four assists and grabbing three rebounds. The 6-foot point guard did not commit any turnovers.

"Bryan gave a really nice boost, and Jake Pounds also played well again off the bench," Molitor said. Pounds, a freshman forward, made one of Whitman's five 3-pointers and snared two rebounds in 17 minutes. Pounds has now made seven of 14 3-point attempts this season.

Box score

Friday, December 29
Whitman 62, Nebraska Wesleyan 51
Championship Final, D-III Desert Shootout
Las Vegas, Nevada

Possibly turning the corner on a tough start to its season, the Whitman men's basketball team pinned a 62-51 defeat on Nebraska Wesleyan University in the championship game of the D-III Desert Shootout Friday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"This is a very good win for our team, and four our conference," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "Nebraska Wesleyan has been one of the premier D-III programs in the country for a number of years now."

Whitman's victory followed on the heels of its 82-69 triumph over Webster University of St. Louis, Missouri, in the tournament's opening round on Wednesday. The Missionaries, who lost their season opener by one point and two subsequent games after failing to hold halftime leads, are now 3-6 on the season.

"The key for us, in winning these two tournament games, was that we played very well and very hard defensively," Molitor said. "We beat two programs that had almost 40 victories between them last season. This does wonders for our confidence level as we head into conference play next week."

Junior point guard Ben Fuller keyed Friday's win, making five of nine shots from the floor and all six of his free throws for a game-high 17 points. He also had five rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots. In his two tournament games, Fuller scored 29 points, shooting 50 percent from the floor, with 12 rebounds, 11 assists and six steals.

"Ben just does a lot of things well," Molitor said. "He scored, he boarded and he took care of the ball against a Nebraska Wesleyan team that prides itself on its defense. Ben is a very confident kid who expects to make plays down the stretch."

Senior shooting guard Leonard Harmon, also a perfect six of six from the charity stripe in Friday night's win, finished with 13 points. Senior forward Peter Rutledge, making six of nine shots from the floor, added 11 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots before fouling out.

Nebraska Wesleyan, which saw its season record fall to 8-4, scored just 17 points in the first half, falling behind by nine points at the break. The Prairie Wolves made just five of 30 shots from the floor in the opening 20 minutes -- a dismal 16.7 percent, and they missed nine of 12 free throw attempts prior to halftime.

The Missionaries hit 47.4 percent of their shots in the second half, outscoring their opponents 36-34, to nail down a second straight victory. The Prairie Wolves, who were 19-7 last season and champions of their conference for a fourth straight season, made just 26 percent of their shots on the night.

Seth Harms, a 6-foot-6 forward, and B.J. Nannen, a 6-foot-1 guard, led Nebraska Wesleyan with 12 points apiece. Ryan Means, a 6-foot-8 center, had 11 points. All three players failed to match their team-leading scoring averages, however, and the trio shot a miserable 13-of-44 from the floor.

Rob Bell, Whitman's 6-foot-8 junior post, scored just six points on six shots from the field, but he keyed the defense with a season-high four blocked shots. "Both Rob and Peter made it real tough on Nebraska's inside guys," Molitor said. "They tout their center as a potential All-American, but he had a very long night against us. We played a zone, but it was Rob and Peter who were contesting most of their inside shots."

The Missionaries also got another boost from their freshman reserves, Bryan Erlebach and Jake Pounds. Erlebach had four points, four rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes, while Pounds had five points and two boards in 15 minutes. "Our fans will be seeing a lot of those two," Molitor said. "They both can play."

After taking an 8-7 lead in the opening minutes of play, Whitman never again trailed. Down by nine points at halftime, the Prairie Wolves cut their deficit to six points at 54-48 midway through the second half. But Fuller responded with his only 3-pointer of the night to push the Missionary lead back to nine points, and "we kept them at arm's length after that," Molitor said.

Whitman, which is 0-1 in the Northwest Conference, returns to its league wars next week. The Missionaries host George Fox and Willamette on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 5-6.

Box score

Monday, January 1
Whitman 81, University College of the Cariboo 80

Leonard Harmon and Ben Fuller combined for 45 points to lead Whitman to an 81-80 exhibition game victory over University College of the Cariboo (Kamloops, B.C.) Monday afternoon in Sherwood Center. The game and statistics do not count on Whitman's record or season statistics.

The Missionaries, led 42-38 at halftime, got the winning baskets from Fuller with 26 seconds left in the game. The Sun Demons, who are in first place in their British Columbia Conference with a 7-0 record, missed their final shot in the closing seconds.

Fuller, who hit 10 of 15 shots from the floor in scoring 22 points, also handed out eight assists and grabbed five rebounds and four steals. Harmon nailed five of seven 3-point attempts and finished with a game-high 23 points.

Mark Bouma also had a solid game for the Missionaries, combining nine points with a team-high eight rebounds.

Friday, January 5
Whitman 85, George Fox 72

Sophomore Mark Bouma scored a career-high 23 points and snared a game-high 12 rebounds to lead the Whitman men to an 82-75 Northwest Conference victory over George Fox Friday night in Sherwood Center.

The Missionaries, who never trailed, evened their NWC record at 1-1 and improved to 4- 6 on the season. The visiting Bruins dropped to 0-3 in conference and 3-7 overall.

Winning its third straight game, Whitman pulled away from early deadlocks at 2-2 and 5-5 to lead by as many as 21 points in a first half that ended with the home team in front 41-25. The Missionaries shot 50 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes while holding the Bruins to a 27 percent shooting performance.

"We put together a strong first half, and even though the second half wasn't as pretty, we held our composure down the stretch and never let them back to within single digits," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "We did a good job of finishing off our first home conference victory, even though we turned the ball over more than we would have liked."

With Bouma scoring three of Whitman's first five hoops to start the second half, the Missionaries extended their lead to 52-30 with 16:23 left to play. George Fox refused to fold, closing to within 11 points midway through the half and trailing by just 10 points at 69-59 with five minutes left.

The Bruin comeback hopes finally fizzled when Whitman's Ben Fuller nailed his only 3-pointer of the night to give the Missionaries a 79-65 cushion with 2:20 remaining. Seventeen seconds later, Fuller converted two free throws and the game was over.

Playing 35 minutes, Bouma hit eight of 11 shots from the floor and seven of nine attempts from the free throw line. Five of his rebounds came off the offensive glass as he worked his way to his fourth double-double in 10 games. "Mark is the real deal," Molitor said. "He has a very exciting season and career ahead of him."

Leonard Harmon added 18 points for the Missionaries, swishing four 3-pointers and grabbing four rebounds. Fuller finished with 12 points, six assists, four boards and just one turnover. "Ben's 3-pointer toward the end of the game is what closed out the victory for us again tonight," Molitor said. "He did the same thing in our win over Nebraska Wesleyan last week. His most important contribution, though, was his floor game. Ben did an outstanding job against their pressure, which is exactly what we needed. The level of leadership he has provided early in his first season here is amazing."

Whitman's inside tanden, 6-foot-8 Rob Bell and 6-foot-5 Peter Rutledge, combined for 20 rebounds as the Missionaries outboarded George Fox 55-35. Rutledge had a season-high 11 rebounds along with six points and four assists. Bell battled foul trouble in collecting nine boards and eight points in just 21 minutes.

Freshman forward Jake Pounds gave Whitman a nice boost off the bench, hitting four of five shots from the floor and both of his free throws for 11 points. Pounds, who joins with Harmon to give Whitman two players from Spokane's Ferris High School, buried his only 3-pointer of the night and is now nine of 18 on the season from long range. Pounds also grabbed four rebounds in his 20 minutes of court time. "That was Jake's best game of the season, but he's going to get better," Molitor said.

Whitman's freshman guards, Bryan Erlebach and Jack Storti, struggled at times against the Bruin defensive pressure, committing nine turnovers between them. "It isn't an accident that two of the George Fox guards are among the conference leaders in steals," Molitor said. "They are as good a guard tandem as there is in the league. Bryan and Jack struggled a little bit, but they also contributed in other ways. This was a good experience for them, and I expect them to bounce back."

The Missionaries shot 49 percent from the floor on the night while holding George Fox to just 32 percent. The Bruins made just nine of 34, or 26.5 percent, of their 3-point attempts. "The 3-pointer is a big part of their offense, and our guys did a great job of taking that away," Molitor said. "George Fox is normally very good at creating wide-open 3-point shots for their perimeter players, but they didn't get very many against us. We kept them from getting into any kind of early rhythm, and we knew that would make it difficult for them to score enough points to beat us."

Box score

Saturday, January 6
Willamette 71, Whitman 66

Willamette's Nik Lubisich scored a game-high 27 points, including 10 points in the final 2:37 of play, to lead the Bearcats to a 71-66 Northwest Conference victory over Whitman Saturday night in Sherwood Center.

Snapping a seven-game losing streak, Willamette improved to 1-2 in the NWC and 4-7 overall. The Bearcat triumph also nipped Whitman three-game winning streak, leaving the Missionaries with the same conference and season record as Willamette.

With the left-handed Lubisich hitting five 3-pointers in the opening nine minutes of the first half, the Bearcats jumped in front 22-8. The Missionaries closed to within 35-32 with a 1:18 left in the half, but Willamette's Ryan Hepp responded with five unanswered points to give the Bearcats a 40-32 lead at the break.

After Willamette scored the first two points of the second, Whitman got hot again, outscoring the visitors 16-4 to grab a 48-46 lead with 10:46 remaining. The game was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way, as the two teams battled through four tie scores and sixlead changes.

Whitman's Ben Fuller, who finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists, hit a free throw at the 2:55 mark to even the score at 58-all. But Lubisich hit two more 3-pointers over the next 90 seconds and added four free throws in the final 25 seconds to ice the win for the Bearcats.

Leonard Harmon buried four 3-pointers for Whitman and scored a team-high 23 points. Peter Rutledge had 10 points and 12 boards for the Missionaries, who outrebounded Willamette 41-30. Whitman also outshot the Bearcats, 51 to 38 percent from the floor and 46 to 38 percent from the 3-point arc. But the Missionaries also turned the ball over 25 times, which allowed Willamette to launch 66 shots from the floor, 21 more than Whitman.

Kip Ioane had 12 points and seven rebounds for Willamette, while Miles Sandgathe added 11 points.

Box score

Tuesday, January 9
Pacific 83, Whitman 63

Four of Whitman's five starters scored in double figures, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Missionaries dropped an 83-63 Northwest Conference decision at Pacific Tuesday night.

The Missionaries, who trailed 42-30 at halftime, suffered through one of their poorest shooting nights of the season, making just 19 of 56 shots from the floor, a chilly 34 percent. Matt Airy came off the bench in the closing minutes to make Whitman's only 3-pointer of the night. Meanwhile, the Boxers converted nine of 21 shots from the 3-point line.

"Our shot chart is astounding," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "We must have missed 60 percent of our shots from within five feet of the basket, and a lot of those shots weren't overly pressured."

Molitor traced his squad's shooting woes to Pacific's success in controlling the overall tempo of play. "You have to credit their defensive tenacity," he said. "We allowed them to speed up our game to the point where we were too hyper. Because of that, we missed a lot of shots, both inside and outside."

Whitman held its only lead in the opening minutes of play when Rob Bell hit a pair of free throws for a 4-2 Missionary advantage. With Whitman trailing 11-8 with 12:58 left in the first half, the Boxers launched a 17-6 that gave Pacific control at 28-14. The home team surged again early in the second half, pushing their lead to 20 points at 57-37. The Missionaries never mounted a serious challenge after that.

Molitor said Pacific played with a good deal of confidence, largely because of its big win last Saturday at Puget Sound. "On the other hand, we were coming off a tough loss at home to Willamette. Both teams played consistent with their previous outing. We need to break that pattern this weekend and play like we did last Friday against George Fox."

Rob Bell led Whitman with 11 points, making just one of four shots from the floor but canning nine of 11 free throw attempts. Ben Fuller, Leonard Harmon and Peter Rutledge each scored 10 points. Rutledge, who was four of seven from the field, was the only Missionary starter to make at half of his shots. Mark Bouma grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to go with nine points.

Apart from Whitman's shooting woes, the two teams played to a statistical dead heat in the rebounding and turnover department. The Boxers snared 40 rebounds, one more than the Missionaries, and the two teams each committed 16 turnovers.

Jason Berry gave Whitman a lift off the bench, making both of his shots from the floor and his only free throw to score five points in 14 minutes. Berry also grabbed five boards. In addition to hitting his only shot of the night (Whitman's only 3-pointer), Airy made three of four free throws to finish with six points in just three minutes.

The Missionaries, now 1-3 in the NWC and 4-8 overall, are on the road again this weekend, playing Friday at Pacific Lutheran and Saturday at Puget Sound.

Box score

Friday, January 12
Pacific Lutheran 85, Whitman 82

Outscoring the Whitman men from the 3-point stripe and free throw line, Pacific Lutheran escaped with an 85-82 Northwest Conference victory Friday night in Tacoma.

After PLU's Parker Barth converted two free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining to give the Lutes their final three-point margin, Whitman came ever so close to forcing overtime. Ben Fuller tossed the inbounds pass three-quarters the length of the court to Peter Rutledge, who made an immediate relay pass to Leonard Harmon. Harmon's hurried 3-point attempt failed to drop at the buzzer, however.

With the win, PLU improved to 7-5 overall, 3-1 in the NWC. Whitman, which has played just two conference games at home thus far this season, dropped to 1-4 in the NWC and 4-9 overall.

The Missionaries jumped in front early, grabbing a 14-4 lead when Fuller tipped in a miss at the 13:48 mark of the first half. The Lutes came charging back on an 11-0 run and eventually moved in front 42-35 with little more than a minute left. Baskets by Fuller and Harmon closed Whitman's deficit to 42-39 at the break.

The Missionaries took charge again to start the second half, taking a 57-55 lead with 14:11 left to play. But a 15-5 run put the Lutes back in front for good, although Whitman closed to within a single point, 83-82, when Rutledge scored with six seconds left in the game.

Both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor for the game, but the Lutes enjoyed a decisive edge from the 3-point line and charity stripe. PLU was 12 of 28 from long range, compared to Whitman's seven of 17. The Lutes made nine of 11 free throws, while the Missionaries made three of just six opportunities.

Led by Neil Mendez, who grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, PLU outboarded Whitman 36 to 28. Half of PLU's rebounds came at the offensive end.

Whitman had one of its best shooting nights of the season, making 58 percent of it shots in the second half. For the game, the Missionaries were 36 of 68 from the floor, or 53 percent.

Nearly every Missionary who saw significant minutes shot at least 50 percent from the floor. One of the few exceptions was Harmon, who was nine of 20 (counting his desperation shot in the final seconds) and scored 22 points. Fuller, who led Whitman with 24 points, hit 11 of 17 shots from the field, including one of his two 3-point attempts. Fuller also contributed six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Mark Bouma also sparked Whitman's offense, making seven of 13 shots and finishing with 17 points. Bouma made two of three 3-point shots.

Box score

Saturday, January 13
Puget Sound 81, Whitman 71

Despite another strong shooting night, the Whitman men came up empty in dropping an 81-71 Northwest Conference decision Saturday night at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.

The Missionaries, who shot 52 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Loggers by one, trailed by six points at the half. Whitman forged a 47-47 tie with 15:13 remaining, but the Loggers regained the lead and stretched it to as many as 14 points with 3:00 left.

Puget Sound upped its record to 9-4 on the season, 3-2 in the NWC. Whitman fell to 4-10 and 1-5.

Senior power forward Peter Rutledge topped a strong effort from Whitman's frontline. Rutledge combined 16 points with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Junior post Rob Bell added 15 points, six boards and two blocks, while sophomore Mark Bouma had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. The trio made 19 of 29 shots from the floor, including three of four 3-pointers.

Leonard Harmon also scored in double figures with 12 points, and Ben Fuller had six assists and six rebounds. Jason Berry had a nice game off the bench, hitting three of his four shots for seven points. Berry added five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Freshman Bryan Erlebach handed out four assists while scoring five points.

As happened the night before at Pacific Lutheran, Whitman was outscored from the 3-point line and free throw line. Puget Sound hit 10 of its 29 shots from 3-point range and 15 of 22 attempts from the charity stripe. The Missionaries made six of 17 shots from long range and just five of 14 free throws. Whitman also was hurt by 20 turnovers.

Box score

Friday, January 19
Linfield 93, Whitman 63

Linfield used seven second-half 3-pointers to outscore Whitman 62-33 in the closing 20 minutes to notch a 93-63 Northwest Conference victory Friday night at Sherwood Center.

The Wildcats, now 5-2 in the NWC and 11-4 overall, remain in second place with the win. Whitman falls to 1-6 in conference, 4-11 overall with the loss.

In the first half, Linfield took leads of 21-13 and 27-19, but each time Whitman responded with a rally. The Missionaries closed out the half scoring 11 of the last 15 points to cut the Wildcat lead to one point at the half, 31-30.

Peter Rutledge scored the first hoop of the second half to give Whitman its first lead since early in the game. But after the teams traded baskets, it was nearly all Linfield the rest of the way. The Wildcats had runs of 11 and eight points and held a lead of at least 20 points over the last eight minutes.

Grant Ebright led Linfield with 22 points and nine rebounds. Evan Wilson scored 14 points and Tim Weidmann had 10.

Leonard Harmonís 23 points and six rebounds paced Whitman. Rob Bell finished seven of 12 from the floor for 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

Whitman hosts the conference top-dog on Saturday night when Lewis and Clark College comes to town for an 8 p.m. showdown. The Wildcats travel to Spokane to take on Whitworth.

Box score

Saturday, January 20
Lewis & Clark 87, Whitman 61

Taking full advantage of the long-ball in the first half, Lewis & Clark proved its Northwest Conference might, downing Whitman 87-61 Saturday night in Sherwood Center.

Lewis & Clark is now 7-1 in the conference, 12-4 overall. The Pioneers are fifth overall in the NCAA Division III West Region poll. Whitman falls to 1-7 in the NWC, 4-12 overall.

The Pioneers used three consecutive three-point buckets early to outscore the Missionaries 50-30 at the intermission. Lewis & Clark hit 20 of its 36 shots in the period, including seven of 13 from beyond the arc. The Missionaries, meanwhile, shot well, but not enough, canning 12 of 24 to start the game.

In the second, Whitman cut the lead to 15 with 14 minutes to go on three consecutive Peter Rutledge field goals. Rutledge finished with a game-high 22 points and six rebounds. He was ten of 16 from the field.

Colin Oriard scored 20 for the Pioneers, leading his team to victory. LC had five players in double figures for the game. Scott Davis finished with 13 points and ten rebounds; Jeff Auxier was seven of 12 from the field for 16 points, and John Mietus and Kris Speier each connected for 11 points apiece.

Bryan Erlebach had 13 points for the Missionaries, including two of two from long-range, while Rob Bell had 11 points.

LC outrebounded Whitman 39-31. Whitman committed 20 turnovers, while the Pioneers had only 10 mistakes.

Whitman takes to the road next weekend when the Missionaries travel to Salem to take on Willamette on Friday night in Sparks Center.

Box score

Friday, January 26
Willamette 66, Whitman 54

Falling behind early, the Whitman men never recovered from a 30-13 first-half deficit and eventually dropped a 66-54 Northwest Conference decision at Willamette Friday night at Cone Field House. The loss drops Whitman to 4-13 on the season, and 1-8 in the NWC. The Bearcats improve to 5-4 in the conference, 8-9 overall.

Tied at ten-all early in the game, Willamette went on a 20-3 run to assume command of the contest. Whitman fought back and played the rest of the game to a dead heat, actually outscoring the Bearcats 35-32 over the final 20 minutes.

Whitman's Leonard Harmon hit five of ten shots, including three of six from beyond the 3-point arc, for a team-high 13 points.

Peter Rutledge also shot a cool 50 percent from the field, canning four of his eight shots, in collecting 12 points and ten rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

Mark Bouma added eight points and four rebounds, while Ben Fuller contributed eight points and seven boards in only 15 minutes of game time. Fuller, the team leader in a number of statistical categories, missed last weekend's action after severely spraining his left ankle in an earlier game against Puget Sound.

Starting at point guard in place of Fuller, freshman Bryan Erlebach scored six points and had five assists in 35 minutes.

For Whitman, the loss was another case of too many turnovers. The Missionaries gave away 20 possessions, while Willamette blundered only 12 times on the night.

Box score

Saturday, January 27
George Fox 79, Whitman 72

George Fox sharpshooters Jordan Green and Travis Melvin combined for 30 points in the final 15 minutes of play to rally the Bruins to a 79-72 Northwest Conference victory over visiting Whitman Saturday night.

The comeback spoiled a strong road performance by the Missionaries, who outshot and outrebounded the Bruins. Whitman led by as many as 14 points in the first half, held a 36-28 advantage at the break, and were in front 48-36 with 14:30 left to play.

But with Green and Melvin getting hot, George Fox pulled even at 61-61 and then took the lead for good on a Green 3-pointer at the 5:49 mark. Green also hit eight straight free throws in the final 2:33 to seal the victory.

Whitman, which shot 48.3 percent from the floor, got 18 points each from Peter Rutledge, Rob Bell and Leonard Harmon. Rutledge also snared a game-high 10 rebounds. Bell, who hit nine of 11 shots from the floor, grabbed seven rebounds, helping the Missionaries to a 42-31 dominance of the backboards.

Harmon nailed three of Whitman's five 3-pointers on the night. While the Bruins shot just 39 percent from the floor, they compensated by hitting nine of 27 shots from the 3-point line and 24 of 29 free throws. The Missionaries were just nine of 16 from the charity stripe.

Ben Fuller, still hampered by a severe ankle sprain suffered two weekends ago, played 24 minutes off the bench. He contributed nine points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals before fouling out.

The loss dropped Whitman to 1-9 in the NWC, 4-14 overall. George Fox improved to 4-6 in conference, 7-11 on the season.

Box score

Wednesday, January 31
Whitworth 82, Whitman 61

Whitworth closed out the first half on a 10-0 run, breaking open a close game, and then kept rolling over the final 20 minutes of play to post an 82-61 Northwest Conference victory over battered and bruised Whitman Wednesday night in Sherwood Center.

Whitworth evened its record at 9-9 on the season and 5-5 in the NWC. The Pirates shot well over 50 percent, hitting 34 of their 59 shots from the field, including seven of 14 from 3-point range. The loss dropped Whitman to 1-10 in the NWC and 4-15 on the season.

With three minutes left in the first half and Whitworth clinging to a 29-28 lead, the visiting Pirates reeled off 10 unanswered points to take a double-digit lead into the halftime break.

Whitman's fortunes took a turn for the worse early in the second half when Ben Fuller took an elbow to the face. Fuller, still hobbled by a severely sprained ankle suffered earlier this month, bit through his lower lip and was taken to the hospital for stitches. He finished with six points, three rebounds and two steals in just 11 minutes of playing time.

With Fuller, Whitman's best all-around player, out of the picture, the Missionaries were unable to mount much of a comeback as the second half was played out.

By game's end, Rob Bell and Peter Rutledge were the only Missionaries scoring in double figures. Bell made five of eight shots from the floor and finished with 15 points. Rutledge added ten points and a team-high six rebounds.

Fuller's bad ankle and fat lip are not the first physical problems to plague the Missionaries this season. Kevin Justice, a projected starter, has missed the entire season while rehabilitating a knee he injured last January. Rich Harris, also projected to start, hasn't played since early December because of an irregular heartbeat.

In Wednesday's game, the Pirates used the inside-outside presence of Bryan Depew and Kelson Ramey to beat the Missionaries. Depew made seven of 11 shots from the field for 19 points, while Ramey was seven of ten, including three of four from beyond the 3-point arc, on his way to 18 points.

Whitworth outrebounded Whitman 40 to 24, but the Missionaries did a much better job handling the ball, losing only nine turnovers to 15 for the Pirates.

The Missionaries host Pacific University Friday night at 8 p.m. in Sherwood Center.

Box score

Friday, February 2
Whitman 64, Pacific 62

Struggling and fighting until the end, Whitman escaped a come-from-behind Pacific effort in the final 20 minutes to prevail, 64-62, in a Northwest Conference victory in Sherwood Center Friday night.

The win lifts the Missionaries to 5-15 on the season, 2-10 in the NWC. The Boxers fall to 6-11 overall, 3-7 NWC.

In the first half, Whitman jumped out to an early 5-4 lead behind five consecutive points from junior guard Ben Fuller. The Missionaries would hold the lead until 1:04 left in the ballgame, when Pierre Elliot, who finished with a game-high 16 points for the Boxers, knocked down a pair of free throws, giving the Boxers a 62-61 lead. The free-throws were the last points in a string of nine consecutive counters for Pacific.

Whitmanís Leonard Harmon, who did not start for the first time all season, re-entered the game after Fuller fouled out with less than a minute to play. The senior made an immediate impact on a drive to the hoop, putting the Missionaries ahead for good at 63-62.

On the ensuing Boxer possession Pacific turned the ball over on a bad pass and Missionary freshman point guard Bryan Erlebach iced the game with a free-throw at the 11-second mark. The Boxers were unable to get an open shot in the waning moments, as Whitmanís Mark Bouma pulled down the final rebound of the ballgame as time expired.

Three Missionaries scored in double figures, as Fuller finished with 15, Harmon with 12 and Rob Bell 10. Bouma finished with nine points and nine rebounds, collecting three assists in 31 minutes of action.

Fuller was six-of-seven from the field and had five steals, all in the first half. Erlebach finished just one-of-nine from the field, but managed eight points on five-of-six shooting from the free-throw line. The freshman also had a career-high six assists in his 35 minutes.

Though the Boxers opened the closing stanza with a bucket by Peter Lunde, who finished with ten points, the period was not officially underway until Whitmanís Peter Rutledge slammed down the first of two sensational dunks in a span of two minutes. Rutledge, who finished with eight points and nine boards, settled for an alley-oop lay-in from Erlebach only seconds after his monster jams.

Whitman shot nearly 50% from the field, canning 22-of-46 shots for the game, while the Boxers hit on 23-of-56 attempts, or 41%. Whitman committed 22 turnovers to the Boxers 17, while Whitman won the battle of the boards, 32-31.

Whitman has the rest of the weekend off before the Missionaries host PLU and UPS next weekend. Pacific travels to Spokane Saturday night to take on the Pirates of Whitworth.

Box score

Friday, February 9
Whitman 72, Puget Sound 69

Ben Fuller's 3-point bucket from the left baseline with five seconds remaining lifted Whitman to a 72-69 Northwest Conference victory over Puget Sound Friday night in Sherwood Center.

Fuller, slowed the past month by a severe ankle sprain, lofted his winning shot after taking a pass from freshman point guard Bryan Erlebach just in time to beat the shot-clock buzzer.

Whitman improved its record to 3-10 in the NWC and 6-15 on the season. The visiting Loggers dropped to 7-7 in conference and 13-9 overall.

Fuller's heroics in the closing seconds averted a late-game collapse for the Missionaries, who led throughout the second half and were up 69-60 with four minutes left to play. Puget Sound rallied behind a Tom Lynch free throw, Sean Kelly's two-point basket, and 3-pointers by Matt Scarlet and Brason Alexander. Coming with 40 seconds left on the clock, Alexander's trey knotted the score at 69-69.

The Missionaries then exhausted their 35-second shot clock before Fuller connected for the game-winner. The Loggers were unable to get off a shot with its final possession, turning the ball over with one second left.

The first half was close all the way, with neither team leading by more than three points. The first 20 minutes of action featured eight tie scores and 11 lead changes. The Loggers, who hit eight of 13 3-point shots in the opening half, led 38-37 at the break.

Whitman wasted no time taking charge in the second half, outscoring Puget Sound 13-2 in the first seven minutes to jump in front 50-38. The Missionaries stretched their lead to as many as 13 points, 65-52, when Erlebach scored with 8:24 remaining.

Whitman senior Peter Rutledge notched his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Erlebach, in the best game of his freshman campaign, also had 15 points along with five assists and just three turnovers. Rutledge and Erlebach shot a combined 12-23 from the floor, and the Missionaries as a team shot 51 percent the floor, hitting 28 of 55 shots. Whitman committed just seven turnovers, a season-low.

Also scoring in double figures for Whitman were senior Leonard Harmon, who nailed three 3-pointers en route to 14 points, and sophomore Mark Bouma, who made five of six shots from the floor to finish with 12 points, five rebounds and three steals. Fuller had nine points on the night.

Lynch posted a double-double for Puget Sound, combining 17 points and 12 boards. Ryan Boyle and Jeff Carlson added 10 points apiece, while Boyle and Craig Henneberry grabbed six rebounds each.

Box score

Saturday, February 10
Whitman 81, Pacific Lutheran 78 - Overtime

Winning its third consecutive game, Whitman rode Ben Fuller and some clutch shooting to an 81-78 overtime victory over Pacific Lutheran Saturday night at Sherwood Center.

The win leaves the Missionaries at 4-10 in the NWC, and 7-15 overall. PLU and Whitman are now dead even in the NWC, along with the Pacific University Boxers at 4-10. The Lutes are now 8-13 overall.

Whitman held a 44-33 advantage at the half, its largest lead of the game, due mostly to the hot hand of senior guard Leonard Harmon. Harmon hit on all five of his first-half 3-point shots, scoring 17 of his 21 total points in the opening stanza. Harmon ended up six-of-14 from the field, five-of-seven from long range.

After the break, PLU came out gunning, opening the period on a 13-4 run to pull the Lutes within two at the 11:54 mark. The teams traded baskets before the Lutes eventually tied the game at 52-all on a Parker Barth basket with 7:33 to play in regulation.

The Lutes would never lead in regulation, as Whitmanís Fuller seemed to will the Missionaries on to victory every time PLU got close. Fuller hit a ten-foot jumper with the shot clock winding down to give Whitman a 62-56 advantage, then two Lute baskets later answered for the Missionaries once again, this time with a three-point bucket to once again stake the Missionaries to a five-point, 65-60 lead with one minute to play.

The Lutes then countered with a Treven Vander Ploeg runner and a three-pointer from Erik Dordal to tie the game at 65-all with under ten seconds to play. Whitmanís Bryan Erlebach missed a running jumper as time expired to send the game into overtime.

In the extra period, the teams traded hoops before Whitman hit consecutive jumpers to give the Missionaries its final lead at 71-67.

PLUís Shane Makanani had all 11 of his points in OT, including three consecutive 3-point bombs, but his efforts were not enough as the Missionaries won the game at the line, hitting eight free-throws down the stretch. Makananiís final three came as time expired for the final 81-78 margin.

Fuller ended the game with 19 points on six-of-11 shooting in 29 minutes. Erlebach, the freshman who continues to develop a knack for the big play, again had an excellent night, hitting six-of-ten from the field for 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals.

Missionary senior Peter Rutledge had his second-consecutive double-double with ten points and 12 rebounds. It was Big Peteís fifth double-double of the season.

For the game, Whitman was 28-of-60 from the field, or 46.7%, after going a sizzling 16-of-29 in the first half. The Lutes shot 34-of-91 in the contest, or 37.4%.

Whitman had 18 turnovers to the Lutes 14, while the Lutes had 48 rebounds to Whitmanís 43. Whitman enjoyed a healthy advantage from the free-throw line, shooting 17-of-19 from the line, while PLU missed both of its free-throw attempts.

Whitman concludes its season next weekend when the Missionaries travel to Oregon to take on Lewis & Clark and Linfield.

Box score

Friday, February 16
Lewis & Clark 73, Whitman 60

Trailing by only three points at the half, the Whitman menís basketball team failed to keep pace with first-place Lewis & Clark over the final 20 minutes, as the Pioneers pulled away, 73-60 in the Northwest Conference contest Friday night in Pamplin Sports Center.

The Pioneers, the nationís 20th-ranked team, upped its season record to 18-5, and 13-2 in the NWC. Whitman falls to 7-16 overall, 4-11 in the NWC.

Freshman point guard Bryan Erlebach led the Missionaries with 15 points on five-of-11 shooting from the field. Erlebach had two assists, two steals and three rebounds in 35 minutes.

Leonard Harmon finished six-of-14 on the night for 14 points, and Peter Rutledge and Ben Fuller each chipped in 11 points for Whitman. On a well-balanced rebounding night, Rutledge led the team with six rebounds, while Fuller and Mark Bouma had five apiece.

Down 31-28 at the end of the first period, rebounding may have been the problem for Whitman, as the Missionaries were outrebounded 47-30 in the game. Whitman shot just 21-of-58 from the field, but Lewis & Clark was not much better at 23-of-60 (38.3%). Whitman had 18 turnovers to the Pioneers 19, and both teams managed 12 steals.

Whitman shot well from the free-throw line, canning 14-of-18 attempts, but the Pioneers found quantity was key, as the home team made a convenient 23-of-33 attempts from the charity stripe on the evening.

The Pioneers were led by Kris Speier and John Mietus, who combined for 47 points and 25 rebounds. Last yearís NWC player of the year, Scott Davis, managed only 11 points in 31 minutes, but the inside presence of Mietus and Speier was enough for the Pioneers.

Whitman rounds out the season Saturday night in McMinnville, Ore., when the Missionaries take on Linfield College. Lewis & Clark hosts Whitworth Saturday night.

Box score

Saturday, February 17
Linfield 125, Whitman 84

Peter Rutledge and Leonard Harmon combined for 45 points, but the seniorsí efforts were outdone by a strong Linfield performance, as the Missionaries lost125-82 Saturday night in Ted Wilson Gym.

Linfieldís win, coupled with the Lewis & Clark loss to Whitworth, leaves the Wildcats in first-place in the Northwest Conference at 12-2, 20-4 overall. Linfield will host the winner of the L&C/Whitworth rematch next Friday. The victory was the tenth-consecutive win for Linfield.

Whitman ends the season at 7-17 overall, 4-12 in the NWC. It was a disappointing end of the season for Whitman, a team that had been riding a three-game winning streak prior Friday nightís loss at Lewis & Clark.

Linfield used a season-high 14 three-point buckets to bury the Missionaries after Whitman had jumped out to the early lead. With 17:30 to play in the opening stanza, Whitman held a 10-2 lead, but Linfield quickly responded. The Wildcats took an 11-10 lead with only three minutes later, as the home team would never trail again.

Linfield held a comfortable 63-40 lead heading into intermission.

Playing in his last game as a Missionary, Rutledge had a game-high 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field. Harmon canned four 3-pointers en route to his 20 points.

Ben Fuller was the only other Missionary in double figures, with 12 points and four assists in 22 minutes. Bryan Erlebach and Mark Bouma each finished with nine points, but the two combined for 15 of Whitmanís 26 turnovers, as well. Linfield had only 15 turnovers on the evening.

Both teams finished better than 50% from the field. Whitman shot 33-of-65, including 10-of-17 from beyond the arc, while the Wildcats never cooled off, knocking down 43-of-74 attempts, including 14-of-31 from deep.

Box score