Men's Hoops Looks to Gain Ground as They Host Linfield and Willamette This Weekend

News Release Date:
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Walla Walla, WA – The Missionaries play host to Linfield and Willamette tomorrow and Saturday night as Whitman takes to George Ball Court for the first time since December 29 when they faced Hamline University. Four straight road games have followed and the Missionaries, with some much needed rest, look to have a successful weekend. Both games start at 8 pm.

Matt Mounier, So.

Friday’s foe, Linfield, enters the game 2 – 4 in the NWC and 3 – 12 overall. The Wildcats are coming off a road loss at Pacific (69 – 53) after downing Puget Sound at home (70 – 65). Whitman is 3 – 3 in conference (5th place) and 9 – 6 on the year. The Missionaries are just a half-game behind fourth-place Lewis & Clark (4 – 3). George Fox and Willamette – tied for second – are not far from reach, either, at 3 – 2.

Linfield boasts the conference’s leading scorer in center Andrew Batiuk. The 6 – 9 sophomore is averaging 20.4 ppg., 48.6 % from the field, and an impressive 46% from three-point land which is tops in the conference. Batiuk also ranks second in rebounding, grabbing 8.3 boards per game.

Although Willamette brings a sub-five hundred record into this weekend’s play (6 – 8), it is notched with George Fox for second, winning two of its last three NWC contests, including a 75 – 74 win at PLU last Saturday. Terrell Malley leads the Bearcats in scoring, pouring in 15.3 per game – fifth best in the NWC – while Sean Dart provides muscle inside, averaging a conference best 9.5 rebounds and a shooting percentage of 58.8 %.

Whitman enters the weekend with three of the top 12 scorers in the conference: Ben Eisenhardt (Jr, Bainbridge Island, WA) is third (16.5 ppg), Matt Mounier (So, Encino, CA) is sixth (13.9 ppg) and Josh Duckworth (Jr, Los Angeles, CA) is twelfth (12.7 ppg). Eisenhardt is coming off a 24-point 9 rebound effort at George Fox.

Forward Ryan Gilkey still holds the conference’s top spot for FG % (67.1); Eisenhardt is fifth (54.5).

In head-to-head matchups, Whitman has won the last three meetings after an early season loss to the Wildcats two seasons ago. Last year, the Missionaries took both games by the scores of 67 – 65 at home and 87 – 60 at McMinnville. Whitman has won the last 6 meetings with Willamette and 7 of-the-last 8. Last season, saw the Missionaries win 103 – 71 at home and 98 – 65 in Salem.

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Andrew Holt

Whitman Sports Information Director