Whitman Men Hold Off Willamette at Home 94 - 87

News Release Date:
Saturday, January 19

Walla Walla, WA -- The Whitman Men's Basketball team got 27 points from forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr, Bainbridge Island, WA) and 25 from point-guard Josh Duckworth (Los Angeles, CA) as the Missionaries held off a tough Willamette club 94 - 87 tonight at the Sherwood Athletic Center. 

Ben Eisenhardt, Jr.

The win puts the Missionaries at 5 - 3 in conference and 11 - 6 overall, and in a tie for third with Lewis and Clark, who was idle tonight. Willamette is, now, 3 - 4 and 6 - 10.

After a closely contested first half that saw the Missionaries lead by six, Duckworth opened the second stanza with a mid-range jumper and a layup after making a steal. The flurry gave Whitman its first double-digit lead of the game at 50 – 60. Willamette countered but when senior forward Drew Raher (Sr, San Francisco, CA) drove to the hoop for a score, the Missionaries held a 13-point margin at the 16:16 mark.

Whitman maintained a double-digit advantage until wing Oliver Hughes drained a three to cut the lead to seven with just over 12-minutes to play. The teams traded baskets before the Bearcats made a run to slice the Missionary margin to one, 76 – 75. Guard Terrell Malley hit a three, post Sean Dart converted a three-point play after being fouled on a layup, and then hit for another deuce to cap the run with 7:24 remaining.

Josh Duckworth, Jr.

Relying on clutch free-throw shooting, Whitman was able to maintain its lead, stretching it back out to 89 – 80. The Bearcats came within striking distance one more time when wing Eliot Babcock-Krenk drilled a three, drawing Willamette to within six. But sophomore forward Matt Mounier (Encino, CA) sank a pair from the charity stripe (11-of-12 for the game) with 34.8 second to play to ice it. Duckworth also made hay from the line, sinking 12-of-14. For the game, Whitman made 35-of-45 free-throws; Willamette 26-of-32.

A physical first-half saw the Bearcats win the rebounding battle 25 – 18 but in the second stanza, the edge went to the Missionaries 25 – 9, with the final rebounding advantage going to Whitman 43 – 34. Missionaries Head Coach Eric Bridgeland had to juggle his line-up as Eisenhardt, Duckworth, and forward Ryan Gilkey (Jr, Woodinville, WA) all had four fouls mid-way through the second half.

Malley led Willamette in scoring with 23, converting 11-of-12 free-throws and hitting three treys. Dart had 18, Hughes 15 and Babcock-Krenk 13 to round out the double-figure scoring for the Bearcats.

Mounier tallied 16, as the only other Missionary to join Duckworth and Eisenhardt in double-digits.

The Missionaries, now, head to Tacoma to play Pacific Lutheran on Friday and Puget Sound on Saturday.


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