Missionary Men Tangle With the George Fox for Home Playoff Spot
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Missionaries have a chance to distance themselves from the rest of the pack as firm owners of second place in the Northwest Conference with a victory Friday night against George Fox. The top two teams from the regular season host a first round conference tournament game and with three games remaining Whitman (9 – 4) has a half-game lead on the Bruins (8 – 4) for second place. Whitworth sits in first at 12 – 1. For complete NWC standings click Standings.
Drew Raher, Sr.
The Missionaries (15 – 7) are riding a phenomenal emotional wave, defeating third-ranked Whitworth at home this past Tuesday in overtime 93 – 90, and in the game prior, coming from 19-points down in the second half to upend Lewis & Clark. The Whits have won 6 of their last 7 and have climbed from fourth to second place in the process.
Ignas Pavilonis, Sr.
The Bruins (13 – 8) own a four-game winning streak with their last loss, a one-point defeat to Lewis & Clark in overtime, 72 – 71.
When the two teams met on January 12 in Newburg, Oregon, George Fox outlasted the Missionaries 76 – 73 after jumping out to a 12 to nothing lead. Whitman forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA) tallied 24 points for the Missionaries in the loss.
If Friday’s game comes down to free-throws, the two clubs shoot almost identical percentages. Whitman ranks third in the NWC at 71.1 % and the Bruins second at 71.8 %. The difference lies in that the Whits go to the line more than any other team in the conference (609 attempts) while George Fox has shot the sixth most (414 attempts).
Ryan Gilkey, Sr.
The Bruins are stingier on defense, allowing their opponents 71.0 points per contest (4th), Whitman gives up a conference-high 78.9 points. Conversely, the Whits are tops in scoring, averaging over 91 points per game while George Fox averages just under 73.
Peter Clark, Sr.
Eisenhardt’s 24-point outing against Lewis & Clark, followed by his 19 points in the win over Whitworth, has moved him into third in conference scoring at 16.4 points per game. “Big Ben” also ranks fifth in rebounding at 6.5.
As the last regular season home game, Friday night’s contest will also serve as “Senior Night.” Guard Drew Raher (San Francisco, CA), wing Peter Clark (Flagstaff, AZ), forward Ignas Pavilonis (Silute Lithuania) and forward Ryan Gilkey (Woodinville, WA) who will forgo his senior year of eligibility, will all be honored before the game.
The 8 pm tip-off is also a “Whiteout Night” where fans are encouraged to wear white shirts or tops.
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Whitman Sports Information Director