Whitman BB Men Bury Bearcats With Big Scoring Spree
News Release Date:
Saturday, January 21
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Stringing together a 27-5 scoring spree over an eight-minute span that started late in the first half, Whitman College rolled to a dominating 98-65 Northwest Conference men's basketball victory over Willamette Saturday night in Salem, Ore.
Whitman's fifth straight victory gives the Missionaries a 13-4 record overall and 6-2 NWC record at the midway point in the league season.
Dropping its eighth consecutive decision, Willamette skidded to 0-8 in conference and 2-15 on the season.
The two teams battled back-and-forth for much of the first half. An early 10-5 Whitman advantage gave way to seven ties and six lead changes, the last of which came with 9:22 left in the half when junior Drew Raher buried a 3-pointer for a 26-24 Whitman lead.
Back-to-back threes from Raher and senior forward David Michaels had Whitman on top 41-32 with 5:25 left in the half, but Willamette narrowed the gap over the next few minutes to 44-37. The Missionaries then closed out the last 2:22 on an 8-1 run to lead 52-38 at the break.
The Bearcats tallied the first bucket of the second half, but the Missionaries responded by scoring 19 of the next 21 points to transform the game into a full-fledged rout.
Michaels, who tallied the first seven Missionary points to the start the game and had 16 at halftime, capped Whitman's early second-half blitz with a jumper that ballooned the lead to 71-42 with 14:43 still left to play.
To that point in the game, Michaels had displayed a perfect shooting touch, making all seven of his field goal attempts (including two 3-point strikes) and all four of his free throws.
His first miss from the floor came a few minutes later, and with both coaches soon turning to their benches, Michaels finished his night with 22 points in 25 minutes on the floor.
Of the 16 Missionaries who made it into the game, all but three dented the scoring column as Whitman knocked down 11 3-pointers and sizzled at the free throw line, making 29 of 35 (82.9 percent) opportunities.
Whitman ruled the backboards, out-rebounding Willamette 42-27 while also forcing the Bearcats into 21 turnovers.
The Missionaries eventually seized control of the competitive first half by virtue of a strong shooting performance. Whitman was 15 of 31 from the floor and eight of 14 from the 3-point arc prior to intermission.
Raher sparked Whitman in the rebounding department with a career-high 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes of floor time. He scored all nine of his points in the first, making all three of 3-point tries.
Raher is now shooting an NWC-best 58.8 percent from the long distance on the season.
Sophomore Josh Duckworth added 11 points and three assists while Jordan Dickson, also a sophomore, came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers en route to 10 points.
Junior Ignas Pavilonis, who gave Whitman two more threes off the bench, had eight points.
Other Missionary contributors included sophomore Ben Eisenhardt (7 points, 5 rebounds), sophomore Ryan Gilkey (6 points, 4 rebounds) and freshman Matt Mounier (7 points, 5 rebounds).
Junior Peter Clark, who also hit two threes, combined six points with three assists, three steals and three rebounds.
Taylor Mounts and Ryan Meehan, two seniors, paced Willamette with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Terrell Malley had eight points while Noah Ripley scored 10 points off the the Bearcat bench.
Whitman has now won its last six meetings between the two schools.
Whitman returns to western Oregon next weekend, playing at Lewis & Clark in Portland on Friday and at George Fox in Newberg on Saturday.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com