Men's Hoops Establishes New Conference Win Total with Linfield Victory
McMinnville, Ore. -- The Whitman Men's basketball team closed out their regular season with a decisive win at Linfield tonight, prevailing over the Wildcats 83 - 58 to finish the season with 9 victories in their last 10 games, and garnering second place in conference and a first round home game in the upcoming Northwest Conference tournament. Their final conference record of 12 - 4 is a school-best. The victory also gave the Missionaries an 18 - 7 overall mark.
Drew Raher, Sr.
Whitman trounced on the Linfield from the opening tip, forcing the Wildcats into 19 turnovers in the first twenty minutes on their way to a 46 - 20 halftime lead. "That was as good a defensive 1st half as we've played all year", said head coach Eric Bridgeland. "I'm really proud of our seniors and of the 12 - 4 record being the best NWC mark in Whitman Men's basketball history. We're excited for next week."
Matt Mounier, So.
The Missionaries busted out of the blocks to grab a 10 - 2 lead, thanks in part to two jumpers from forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA) and a three-ball from forward Drew Raher (Sr., San Francisco, CA). Linfield turnovers, induced by the Whitman full-court press, led to a flurry of baskets and a 17 point margin, 30 - 13, when Josh Duckworth drilled a jumper with 8:40 remaining in the half. From there, Whitman went on a 16 to 7 run to close out the half. Whitman's defensive effort resulted in Linfield having two more shot attempts (21) than turnovers in the first twenty minutes.
Early in the 2nd half, two consecutive treys from Matt Mounier (So., Encino, CA) and a pair of Raher free throws gave the Whits their biggest lead of 32 points, 54 - 22. The Wildcats chipped away but could never make a major dent, seeing the lead reduced to twenty before another Missionary surge took it back up to 32 with just under 2 minutes left.
Mounier paced the Whits with 16 points in 14 minutes, hitting 4 of 7 from three-point land, and swiping 3 steals. Philip Chircu (Fr., Ryde, Australia) came off the bench to score 11 (3 - 4 from beyond the arc) and Josh Duckworth (Jr., Los Angeles, CA) added 10.
Zach Meikle tallied a game-high 18 for the Wildcats, along with grabbing 10 rebounds. Brandon Harris finished with 10.
The Missionaries now come home and will play hosts to the No. 3 seed, George Fox, in the first round of the NWC tourney Thursday night at 8 pm.
Whitman Sports Information Director