Men's Basketball Clinches Tourney Home Game with 82 - 68 Win at Willamette
Salem, Ore. – Josh Duckworth (Jr., Los Angeles, CA) scored a game-high 25 points, including 11-straight late in the second half, as the Missionaries secured a first round home game in the upcoming Northwest Conference Tournament with an 82 – 68 victory at Willamette tonight.
Josh Duckworth, Jr.
The win puts Whitman at 11 – 4 in conference and guarantees them a second place finish with third place George Fox falling to Pacific Lutheran tonight, leaving both the Bruins and Lewis & Clark at 9 – 6 with just one game remaining. Whitworth (13 – 2) clinched the regular season title with an 86 – 53 at Linfield. For complete NWC standings click Standings.
“I am so proud of our guys” said Head Coach Eric Bridgeland after the game. “We were in major foul trouble much of the game, we didn’t shoot it well from beyond the arc, just 4 of 22, but our guys kept fighting and found a way to win.”
The Missionaries (17 – 7) took the lead in the first half and never relinquished it, entering the intermission with 37 – 29 edge and never allowing the Bearcats closer than three points in the second half. Willamette mounted its biggest threat when it scored six-straight, narrowing the Whits’ lead to 42 – 39 when post Sean Dart laid in a follow-up with 17 minutes left in the game.
Whitman responded with three straight buckets, the final deuce coming on a short jumper by Ben Eisenhardt (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA) to push the lead back out to 8.
Ryan Gilkey, Jr.
The Missionaries took a double-digit lead, 58 – 47, when Duckworth broke loose and goal tending was called on his layup with 11:26 remaining. Matt Mounier (So., Encino, CA) hit a floater before Duckworth accounted for the next eleven Whitman points, ending the personal mini-run with four consecutive free throws to make it a 74 – 62 game with just 3:39 left on the clock
Willamette was never able to close the gap to less than 10 the rest of the way as Whitman sank 8 of 10 from the charity stripe in the final minutes (Mounier 2 – 2, Ryan Gilkey 3 – 4, and Drew Raher, 3 – 4)
“Duck was fantastic”, commented Bridgeland, “scoring 25 points in just 27 minutes. I thought Keenan Durham (So., Seattle, WA) coming off the bench and scoring 7 and getting 6 rebounds was huge. Mounier hit back-to-back threes to give us some space in the first half. It was just a great performance from our guys. It was nice to have a good Friday night performance on the road – we haven’t had one for a while – and to do it in a tough environment, was great.”
Mounier ended up as Missionaries second leading scorer with 15, Gilkey (Jr., Woodinville, WA) had 12, Raher (Sr., San Francisco, CA), who played most of the second half with four fouls, finished with 11 and Eisenhardt had 9 before fouling out.
The Whits, who have won 8 of their last 9, conclude their regular season tomorrow evening at Linfield (3 – 12, 4 – 20) with a 6 pm tip.
For live video http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/linfield.portal, and live stats http://www.linfield.edu/sports/sports-stats/basketball-live-stats.html.
Whitman Sports Information Director