Whitman Men Garner 21 Steals in 102 - 53 Victory Over Linfield

News Release Date:
Friday, January 18

Date: January 18, 2013

Walla Walla, WA -- The Missionaries came out of the blocks fast and used a suffocating defense to beat Linfield tonight at George Ball Court 102 - 53. The win moves Whitman to 4 - 3 in the NWC and 10 - 6 overall. The Wildcats drop to 2 - 5 in conference and 3 - 13 on the season.

Ignas Pavilonis, Sr.

Every member of the Whitman line-up got into the game as the Missionaries led by more than 40 mid-way through the second half. Whitman was led in scoring by forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr, Bainbridge Island, WA) and wing Philip Chircu (Fr, Ryde Australia) who each had 14. Brandon Harris had 10 to lead all Linfield scorers.

The Missionaries’ signature full-court press produced 21 steals and caused the Wildcats to turn the ball over 25 times. Moreover, the Whitman defense held Linfield to just 30% shooting from the field and limited the conference’s top scorer, Wildcat sophomore center Andrew Batiuk to just 5 points – he came into the game averaging just over 20 ppg.

Batiuk saw limited minutes after taking a hard fall with a little over ten minutes to play, but by then, the Missionaries harassing man-to-man defense had taken him out of the game.

Whitman came out firing from the very beginning and took a commanding 28 – 9 lead before the second media timeout with 7:33 remaining in the first half. The Whitties got consecutive three-pointers from senior wing Peter Clark (Flagstaff, AZ) and senior forward Ignas Pavilonis (Silute, Lithuania) before the Wildcats got a respite. Matt Mounier (So, Encino, CA) hit two free-throws and Chircu drained a corner trey after the timeout and the Missionaries cruised to a 48 – 22 first half advantage.

At the half, Mounier had already scored 10 of his 13 points and Chircu 9 of his 14 – all on three-balls.

As the Missionaries continued to pull away in the second half, many of the bench players saw significant time. Sophomore forward Keenan Durham (Seattle, WA) played 15 minutes and tallied 6 points. Freshman forward Evan Martin (Las Vegas, CA) saw 9 minutes and scored 5 points. Freshman wing Morgan Outzen (Portland, OR) played five minutes and scored a deuce. And although freshman point-guard Jackson Clough (Seattle, WA) and Tochi Oti (Los Angeles, CA) have been major contributors off the bench this season, they both ran the point for most of the second half.

Tochi Oti, Fr..

“That’s the thing. We are crazy deep”, said Head Coach Eric Bridgeland. There are guys like Jackson Clough, Tochi Oti, Evan Martin and Keenan Durham. Those guys can play. So, we’re always looking for an opportunity to get them into the game.”

The second stanza saw the Missionaries grab leads of 47 several times and claim their biggest advantage of 48 when Clough poured in two free-throws to make it 94 – 46 with 4:52 remaining.

The win marked the sixth time the Whitties have broken the century mark this season as they shot 51 % from the field.

The game also marked the first home game for the Missionaries after a four-game road stint. Coach Bridgeland commented on being home.  “I’d say it was great to be home . . . sleep in our own beds. We had a great week of practice and the guys came out and just exuded our culture. It was great. There was great fan support I thought, too, tonight.”

The win puts Whitman firmly in fourth place in the NWC – a half-game ahead of 3 – 3 Willamette who invades the Sherwood Center tomorrow night for an 8 pm tip.


Box Score

A full game story will be posted soon.