Free Throws, Defense Keep BB Men Winning
News Release Date:
Saturday, February 5
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Free throws and defense were the difference as the Whitman College men's basketball team continued to roll with a 70-62 Northwest Conference victory over Puget Sound Saturday night in Tacoma, Wash.
Making 31 of 35 free throws and knocking off Puget Sound for the second time this season, Whitman improved to 8-4 in the NWC (15-6 overall) and moved into a second-place tie in the conference standings.
The red-hot Missionaries have won 13 of their last 15 games.
Saturday's victory, coming one night after a win at Pacific Lutheran, gives the Whitman sweep of the Tacoma schools on their home floors for the first time since Puget Sound joined the NWC in the 1996-97 season.
Freshman Josh Duckworth paced the latest Whitman win with 15 points and five rebounds. He converted nine of 10 chances at the free throw line.
Junior Brandon Shaw went one better at the charity stripe, making all 10 of his attempts en route to 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Whitman also got 13 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots from junior David Michaels and 11 points and four boards from sophomore Peter Clark. Freshman Ryan Gilkey contributed six points and six rebounds.
Getting two 3-pointers from Clark and one from sophomore Ignas Pavilonis, Whitman jumped in front 9-6 in the first six minutes of play. A Shaw jumper followed by another 3-point strike by Clark gave the Missionaries a 25-12 lead with 3:24 left.
After Duckworth and Clark drilled a series of four free throws, Pavilonis popped a jumper to make it 31-15 Whitman with 1:45 remaining. At that point Puget Sound had managed just five field goals (including three 3-pointers) and two free throws against the Missionary defense.
The Loggers salvaged their first half with six points in the final 81 seconds to trail 33-21 at intermission.
Whitman kept up the pressure to start the second half. While Puget Sound missed its first three shots and committed its 10th turnover, senior Justin Artis drilled a 3-pointer and sophomore Drew Raher made two free throws to extend Whitman's lead to 38-21 with 17:47 left in the game.
Puget Sound finally got its offense untracked, using a 10-1 run to cut its deficit to 41-36 with 11:37 remaining. Following a Logger turnover, Shaw made two free throws and Michaels finished off a three-point play in the paint. Shaw added two more free throws, giving the Missionaries a 48-39 advantage with just over nine minutes left on the clock.
Two Duckworth hoops produced an 11-point bulge at the 7:16 mark, and the freshman knocked down two more free throws for a 57-45 Whitman cushion with five minutes left.
Michaels tallied the next four Missionary points as time started running low for the Loggers. Kaleb Shelton's 3-pointer pulled Puget Sound to within 66-62 with 38 seconds remaining, but Shaw and Michaels made four more free throws to seal the victory.
Whitman, one of the top rebounding teams in the NWC, outboarded the Loggers 44-41. The Missionaries lead the conference in steals and picked off nine more while pestering Puget Sound into 17 turnovers.
The loss dropped Puget Sound to 5-7 in the NWC and 8-13 on the season.
Whitman returns home to play its next three NWC games, starting with 8 p.m. games next Friday and Saturday against George Fox and Willamette.
The Missionaries then host Whitworth on Tuesday, Feb. 15, before finishing the regular season at Pacific on Friday, Feb. 18.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org