Whit BB Men Turn Back Pesky PLU in One-Point Thriller

News Release Date:
Saturday, January 7

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Ignas Pavilonis knocked down a 3-pointer and Matt Mounier added a free throw as Whitman College held off Pacific Lutheran in the closing seconds for a 58-57 Northwest Conference men's basketball victory Saturday night in Tacoma. Wash.

Whitman 58,
Pac. Lutheran 57

Box Score

Whitman evened its NWC record at 2-2 and ran its season mark to 9-4.


Pacific Lutheran, which lost in double-overtime to Whitworth Friday night, also finished the weekend with a 2-2 conference mark (5-8 overall).

Whitman jumped in front 16-6 to start the game but the Lutes battled back to trail 33-30 at halftime.

Pacific Lutheran claimed small leads on three occasions in the second half, the last time at 44-43 with nine minutes left to play. The Missionaries regained the lead when Peter Clark drilled a 3-pointer at the 8:39 mark.


A Josh Duckworth free throw stretched Whitman's lead to 49-45 with five minutes remaining, but PLU's Zachery Klein hit a three to make it a one-point game.

Following a Whitman time-out with three minutes left, David Michaels fed Pavilonis for a 3-pointer that had the Missionaries back on top by four at 52-48. But the Lutes refused to fold, getting a three from Cameron Reister to again pull within a single point.

After LuQuam Thompson countered for Whitman with a fast-break layin, Reister connected again from the 3-point arc to even the game at 54-54 with 1:14 left on the clock.

A second Michaels-to-Pavilonis 3-pointer on Whitman's next possession put the Missionaries back into the driver's seat.


After the two teams traded single free throws, James Conti's layup with 18 seconds remaining trimmed PLU's deficit to 58-57.

A missed Missionary free throw with 15 seconds left gave the home team a final shot at victory, but Mounier rebounded an errant PLU jumper to seal the win for Whitman. 

Michaels scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the back-and-forth first half. The 6-foot-7 senior made seven of 11 shots from the floor, and all four of his free throws, while grabbing six rebounds and handing out three assists.

Pavilonis, a 6-foot-5 junior, snared a game- and career-high 10 rebounds. Duckworth, a sophomore guard, added nine points and three assists.

Clark, Thompson and Mounier chipped in with six points each. Mounier also collected six rebounds while Thompson finished with five assists.

Whitman shot 44.9 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Lutes 35-33.

Whitman scored the game's first six points, including a pair of layups by Michaels, and later took a 10-point lead at 16-6 on Duckworth's jumper with 14-plus minutes left in the opening half.

After PLU responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 16-16 with 12 minutes left, the two sides swapped small leads over the next several minutes. 

Thompson hit a pair of free throws with 1:53 on the clock to give Whitman a 33-28 advantage, but Drew Earnest canned a tough jumper to make it a 33-30 game at the the break.

Whitman returns home next weekend to host Linfield on Friday and Pacific on Saturday. Both game start at 8 p.m. in Sherwood Center.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu