Quick Start Carries Whit Men to Victory
News Release Date:
Saturday, December 12
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College bolted to a 24-8 lead in the first half and held off the University of California-Santa Cruz the rest of the way for an 88-73 men's basketball victory Saturday night on George Ball Court in Sherwood Center.
Whitman, off to its best start in a decade, has won four straight and is 5-2 on the season.
The Banana Slugs are 2-8 to start their season.
Freshman Peter Clark scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the first half as Whitman raced to a 44-35 lead at the break. Clark did most of his scoring from the 3-point line, where he made five of eight attempts on the night. The Missionaries as a group were 10 of 22 from beyond the arc.
Whitman also got 13 points and four steals from sophomore Brandon Shaw and 10 points and four assists from freshman LuQuam Thompson. Juniors Justin Artis and Daniel Davidson added to Whitman's balanced scoring with 10 and nine points, respectively.
David Michaels, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, was a force in the paint for the Missionaries, combining eight points with seven rebounds.
Clark and junior Max Adcox nailed 3-pointers early in the second half, and Whitman stretched its lead to 15 points, 61-46, with almost 14 minutes left to play.
After Santa Cruz closed to within 67-60 with just under 10 minutes left to play, five different Missionaries responded by making seven of 10 free throws to give Whitman a 74-62 lead with about six minutes remaining.
The Banana Slugs momentarily closed the gap to 10 points before baskets by Davidson and Shaw boosted the Missionary lead to 14 points and turned aside the last serious Santa Cruz challenge.
Whitman opened the first half on a 14-4 run as Clark made a pair of 3-pointers and Davidson drilled a third. Artis added back-to-back longballs to give the Missionaries their biggest lead of the night at 24-8 with eight minutes left in the half.
Matsuoka's two buckets in the final minute trimmed Whitman's lead to nine points at the break.
Whitman shot 44.8 percent from the floor for the game and forced Santa Cruz into 23 turnovers. The visitors battled to a slight 46-43 edge of the backboards with Tyler Hunt and Brent Jacobs snaring 10 boards apiece.
Matsuoka finished with 13 points to lead the Banana Slug offense. Alex Abarca and Greg Palmer each added 11 points.
All but one of the 12 Missionaries who entered the game scored at least two points and grabbed at least one rebound.
Whitman stays at home to host North Central University (Minneapolis, Minn.) next Saturday. That game starts at 4 p.m.
- 30 -
CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org