Whitman Men Come Up Just Short Against Division I UC Riverside

News Release Date:
Saturday, November 17

Riverside, CA – With a quick turnaround following their season opener on Thursday night, the Whitman College Men’s Basketball team gave NCAA Division I U.C. Riverside all they could handle on Saturday, before falling by a score 76-89.

Ignas Pavilonis, Sr.

Despite having played less than 48 hours earlier at home, the Missionaries proved more than up to the challenge of playing a Division I opponent—even on short rest. A close game throughout the first period of play, Whitman took its first lead on a 3 point bomb from 6’10” junior forward Ben Eisenhardt (Bainbridge Island, WA) at the 12:25 mark—his third strike from 3 point land in the opening half.

The two teams traded the lead twice over the next few minutes, until freshman Tochi Oti (Los Angeles, CA) stole the ball and banked in a mid-range jump shot to push Whitman to a 3-point advantage. Whitman found its largest lead on a 3-point strike from senior Peter Clark (Flagstaff, AZ), pushing the margin to 34-29 with 9:02 left to play. The Missionaries led again by 5 moments later when senior Ignas Pavilonis (Silute, Luthuania) dropped in a fade-away jump shot at the 8:16 mark. The Highlanders responded with a 20-8 run to close the half with a 51-44 advantage. 

Whitman harassed the UCR into 14 first half turnovers, while committing just 7 of their own, and knocked down 9 of 21 3-point attempts in the period.

The Missionaries drew first blood 13 seconds into the second stanza with a driving layup from Eisenhardt, and knotted the score at 53-53 on a layup from senior Ryan Gilkey (Woddinville, WA) with 16:10 to play. The Highlanders gradually built a lead over the next six minutes, breaking into double digits with a 70-59 advantage with 10:36 left. Whitman’s hot shooting in the first half cooled in the second, as the Missionaries shot just 2-16 from the three point line in the period. UCR held off several late Whitman charges to pull out the win, 89-76.

Drew Raher, Sr.

For the second game in a row, Eisenhardt led Whitman in points and rebounds, tallying 21 and 8 respectively. Pavilonis notched his first double figure game of the young season, tallying 10 points, while senior Drew Raher (San Fransisco, CA) combined 8 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes.

Chris Harriel led all scorers with 26 points and 8 rebounds, while Josh Fox tallied 18 points and Lucas Devenny hauled down 15 rebounds for Riverside.

Whitman forced UCR into 21 turnovers, collected 19 offensive rebounds, and had 77 field goal attempts to the Highlanders’ 70, but couldn’t get enough shots to fall, converting just 36.4% for the game.

The Missionaries will remain in Southern California for the next several days, playing at Pacifica University (Moreno Valley, CA) on Monday, November 19th, and Bethesda University (Anaheim, CA) on Wednesday, November 21st.