Duckworth Reprises Hero's Role, Beats Wildcats at Buzzer

News Release Date:
Friday, January 13

 

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Reprising the hero's role he played against Lewis & Clark in December, Josh Duckworth lofted home a buzzer-beating jumper to lift Whitman College to a 67-65 Northwest Conference basketball victory over Linfield Friday night in Sherwood Center.

Whitman 67,
Linfield 65

  Box Score

With the game tied and just two seconds on the clock, Duckworth got his hands on a length-of-the-floor pass near the top of the key, whirled and elevated left of the free throw line (see video below).

Duckworth

The shot settled into the net at the buzzer, giving the Missionaries a triumph when overtime seemed all but inevitable.

Whitman, improving to 3-2 in NWC and 10-4 overall, led by 11 points at 49-38 with 13 minutes left in the second half. The lead was nine points, 53-44, with nine minutes remaining, and five points, 63-58, with 2:40 left.

Photo Top Page

 Josh Duckworth elevates for game-winning
jumper vs. Linfield

Photo by Kelly Bird,
Linfield College

But the Wildcats refused to fold, outscoring Whitman 7-2 down the stretch to even the slate at 65-65 with two ticks left.

That's when Duckworth, a 6-foot-2 guard, won the scrum for an out-of-bounds ball tossed from the other end of the floor by another sophomore guard, Jordan Dickson, and twirled to launch his dagger just before the horn sounded.

Back in early December, Duckworth was the hero when he elevated at the buzzer to hit a 3-pointer for an 82-80 victory over Lewis & Clark in Sherwood Center.

Friday's tough-luck loss dropped Linfield to 1-4 in the NWC and 3-11 on the season.

The Wildcats seemed to have overtime in hand after Whitman turned the ball over with 25 seconds remaining and Cory Hendryx whipped a pass inside for a David Lee layup.

Duckworth's game-winning shot was his only field goal in a five-point night, but he also handed out four assists and grabbed four rebounds.

                      Ben Eisenhardt
   Photo by Greg Lehman, Whitman College

Whitman's big gun for most of the night was 6-foot-10 sophomore Ben Eisenhardt, who blitzed the Wildcats for 28 points, six rebounds and four assists.

A transfer, Eisenhardt was playing in only his seventh game for Whitman and making his first start. He was 10 of 18 from the floor, working his way repeatedly inside, and made seven of eight free throws. He also nailed one of his three 3-point shots.

The Missionaries out-rebounded Linfield 40-38 and pestered the Wildcats into 19 turnovers, but they also made just one of 14 3-point shots in the second half after going six of 14 from beyond the arc prior to intermission.

Linfield's Zach Anderson, who entered the game averaging an NWC-best 22.9 points per game, hit that number almost on the nose, finishing with 23 points and eight rebounds.

Andrew Batiuk added 14 points for the Wildcats along with four rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots. Lee chipped in with 10 points.

Whitman also got nine points and five rebounds from junior Peter Clark and eight points junior Drew Raher.

The Missionaries raced away an 11-2 lead in the first two-plus minutes of the game. Clark hit a pair of threes and Eisenhardt added a third to spark the opening salvo.

Clark hit again from beyond the arc for a 14-8 Whitman edge at the 12-minute mark, and the lead lengthened to 21-13 with six minutes left.

Sophomoe LuQuam Thompson picked off a steal and scored at the other end, putting Whitman in front 36-26 with 1:23 left. The Wildcats stayed close, getting the last four points of the half to trail by six at the break.

Linfield pulled to within four early in the second half, but baskets by senior D.J. Wright and freshman Matt Mounier and two Duckworth free throws pushed the Missionary lead back to 10 points at 46-36 with 14 minutes left.

A minute later, Wright canned two freebies to make it an 11-point game at 49-38. The Missionaries were still up by 10, 52-42, after Eisenhardt completed a three-point play in the paint midway through the half.

Linfield responded with a 7-1 spurt to stay in the game, getting four points from Batiuk and three more from Anderson.

Whitman led 56-51 after Eisenhardt made two free throws with 5:31 remaining, but Anderson drilled a Linfield three and added two charity tosses to tie the game at 56-56 with 3:57 on the clock.

Two Eisenhardt jumpers and a 3-point strike by junior Ignas Pavilonis had the Missionaries on top 68-63 before Linfield scrambled back a final time.

Whitman stays at home Saturday to host Pacific at 8 p.m. Linfield is in Spokane on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game against Whitworth.

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