Men's Hoops Overcomes 19-Point Deficit to Defeat Lewis & Clark 74 - 71
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Missionaries overcame a 19-point second half deficit, getting 21 points from forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr, Bainbridge Island, WA) in the second stanza, in edging Lewis & Clark 74 – 71 at the Sherwood Athletic Center tonight.
Ben Eisenhardt, Jr.
The win puts Whitman into a two-way tie for second with George Fox, both with 8 – 4 records, and drops the Pioneers to fourth in the NWC at 7 – 5. For complete NWC standings click Standings.
The victory also marks the Whits fifth win in their last six outings, and runs their conference home record to 6 – 0.
L & C took control of the game early and looked like they might run away with it in the first half. Riding the hot shooting of guard Dexter Pearce (16 points in the first half), the Pioneers got out to a 31 – 12 lead with just over eight minutes remaining before intermission.
Philip Chircu, Fr.
The Missionaries answered with a 15 – 3 run to close the gap to seven, 34 – 27, when wing Philip Chircu (Fr, Ryde Australia) drained a three-ball with four-and-a-half minutes to play. But the Pioneers would outscore the Whits 11 to 3 the remainder of the half and take a 45 – 30 advantage into the locker room.
In the opening moments of the second-half L & C, again, threatened to make it a blow-out, taking a 19-point lead on a Ross Erickson layup with two minutes played. Then, the Eisenhardt started to take charge, making 8-of-12 from the field and sinking 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. During two different stretches “Big Ben” scored three straight buckets on a myriad of moves. His layup with eleven minutes remaining drew the Missionaries to within five, the closest they had been since the opening moments of the game.
Whitman finally caught the Pioneers at 66 – 66 when forward Matt Mounier (So, Encino, CA) hit a leaner at the 5:44 mark. L & C answered with a corner trey from guard Quentin Sims but the Pioneers could not hold off the Missionaries who took the lead 70 – 69 with four minutes remaining on a pair of Eisenhardt free-throws, moments after he had converted a spinning drive to the hoop.
Eisenhardt hit a hook shot to make it a three-point margin. Pearce got L & C back to within one with a pair of free-throws with 2:26 left on the clock. Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the final two minutes before the Pioneers fouled Eisenhardt after an errant three with five second left. Eisenhardt hit the two free-throws providing the final margin.
Pearce finished the game with 24 to lead the Pioneers with guard James Hollins adding 14 – twelve coming on free-throws (12 – 14). L & C shot 73 % from the charity strip (27 – 37); the Missionaries 64 % (23 – 36).
Josh Duckworth tallied 11 for Whitman – the only other Missionary to score in double-figures.
With the win, Whitman improves to 14 – 7 on the season. Lewis & Clark is 13 - 8
Whitman hosts No. 3 Whitworth (20 – 1) Tuesday night at the Sherwood Center, looking to avenge an earlier double-overtime loss in Spokane. Tip-off is 8 pm.
Whitman Sports Information Director