Pioneers Rain Down Threes, Men's BB Rally Falls Short
News Release Date:
Friday, January 27
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- After knocking down 14 three-pointers over the first 30 minutes of play, Lewis & Clark turned back a determined Whitman College rally to post an 81-74 Northwest Conference men's basketball victory Friday night in Portland, Ore.
The loss snapped Whitman's five-game winning streak and created quite the logjam near the top of the conference standings.
Whitman, now 6-3 in the NWC (13-5 overall), heads to Saturday's games tied for second place with George Fox, Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran.
And Lewis & Clark is just a game back at 5-4 (10-8 overall) in the NWC standings.
Whitworth, which lost at home last week to Whitman, retained its grip on first place tonight by pulling away from George Fox for a 20-point win in Newberg. The Pirates are now 8-1 in conference.
Saturday's slate of games has Whitman playing at George Fox while Lewis & Clark hosts Whitworth. Both games start at 6 p.m.
Whitman, which edged Lewis & Clark by two points earlier this season in Walla Walla, got the early jump in the rematch, building a 17-8 lead in the first five minutes of play. Senior forward David Michaels had eight points to spark the opening salvo.
But that's when Lewis & Clark began finding its range from the 3-point arc. A string of four 3-pointers, the first and last by PJ Taylor, ignited the Pioneers and helped offset a 3-point strike by Whitman junior Peter Clark.
With its lead down to two points, Whitman regained some breathing room at 28-22 on two Michaels free throws and a layup by sophomore Ben Eisenhardt.
Taylor's layup with 6:40 left in the half triggered a 17-3 Pioneer onslaught that included three more 3-point bombs and vaulted the home team into a 39-31 lead with two minutes remaining.
Michaels finished the half with six unanswered points for Whitman to shrink the Lewis & Clark lead to 39-37 at intermission.
The Missionaries pulled even at 42-42 early in the second half, thanks to a Michaels three-point play in the paint and two free throws by sophomore LuQuam Thompson.
Lewis & Clark again answered from long range as James Hollins and Donato Perconti combined to drill six 3-pointers in a seven-minute span, inflating the Pioneer lead to 64-46 at the midway point of the second half.
Back came Whitman, getting a three-point play from sophomore Josh Duckworth, two Eisenhardt free throws and a layup by freshman Matt Mounier to slice the deficit to 11 points.
After the Pioneers pushed the spread back to 14, junior Ignas Pavilonis hit a Whitman three, Michaels blocked a shot at the defensive end, and Clark added a second Missionary three, drawing the visitors to within 69-61 with six minutes left.
A mini-surge had Lewis & Clark in front 75-63 with four minutes remaining, but Whitman made a final charge.
Michaels scored inside, Pavilonis hit another three and Michaels drained two free throws, making it a 75-70 contest with 2:37 still on the clock.
Whitman junior Drew Raher ended the next Pioneer possession with a steal, but when a Missionary three failed to drop at the other end, the rally began running out of time.
Duckworth's jumper and two Raher free throws closed the gap to 77-73 with 16 seconds left, but Taylor and Hollins knocked down four Pioneer free throws in the closing seconds to complete the scoring.
Michaels, the second-leading scorer in the NWC, finished with 31 points, matching his career-high from earlier in the season. He was nine of 13 from the floor and 13 of 15 from the free throw line.
Michaels also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and blocked a shot.
Eisenhardt scored 12 points off the bench, making all five of his field goal attempts while grabbing four boards and handing out four assists.
Pavilonis added nine points from the 3-point line. Whitman also got eight points, three assists and two steals from Clark and seven points, five rebounds and three assists from Duckworth.
Hollins, who made six of seven from the 3-point line, matched Michaels with 31 points. Perconti was four of five from long distance for 12 points and Taylor finished with 13 points and eight assists.
After making eight of its 13 three-point tries in the first half, Lewis & Clark drilled six of nine attempts after the break. All told, the Pioneers were 14 of 22 (63.6 percent) from downtown.
Whitman won the rebounding battle 33-17, capitalized on 21 of 24 free throws, and shot a more than respectable 47.1 percent from the floor on the night.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com