Whit Men Turn Back Bruins in Final Minute

News Release Date:
Friday, January 8

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Despite letting a 16-point second-half lead slip away, Whitman College regained the upper hand in the closing seconds to turn back a scrappy George Fox University 90-85 Friday night in Northwest Conference men's basketball action in Sherwood Center.

Whitman, which drilled 13 3-pointers and hounded the Bruins into 33 turnovers, improved to 2-1 in conference and 8-4 overall.

George Fox, despite shooting 56.9 percent from the floor and outrebounding the Missionaries 43-25, dropped its first NWC decision in three games and saw its season record tumble to 5-7.

Brandon Shaw

Sophomore Brandon Shaw sparked Whitman with 23 points and four steals. Junior Justin Artis was deadly from the 3-point arc, hitting four of five attempts, while scoring 20 points. 

Whitman also got 10 points from sophomore David Michaels, nine points from freshman LuQuam Thompson and eight points apiece from senior Jordan Wheeler and junior Daniel Davidson.

Justin Artis

Rich Smith, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound post, anchored the Bruins with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Alex Stockner, also 6-foot-5, added 18 points and seven rebounds for George Fox, which also got 14 points from Stephen Wiseley and 11 points, five rebounds and five assists from Evan Atwater.

Whitman nailed seven 3-pointers in the first half and led 39-30 with three minutes left before intermission. But the Bruins, after outscoring the Missionaries 11-3, headed to the break just a point down at 42-41.

George Fox took leads of one and two points with its first three buckets of the second half, but Shaw converted two free throws and freshman Drew Raher buried a three-ball from the top of the key to give Whitman a 54-49 cushion. 

Freshman Brady Brent and Thompson buried two more 3-pointers and Artis added a three-point play in the key as Whitman stretched its lead to 67-54 with 12:30 left to play. Brent struck again from the 3-point stripe to move the Missionaries in front 74-58 with just under 10 minutes remaining.

That's when Wiseley got hot, collecting the next 10 points for the Bruins to trigger a 23-7 outburst that knotted the game at 81-81 with three minutes left. Stockner contributed eight points to the comeback bid.

After Michaels swished two free throws for Whitman, George Fox again pulled even when Jack Martin drove the lane for a bucket.

Both sides failed to score on their next possessions, but Artis then slid to the top of the key to make the shot of the night, a 3-pointer that made it 86-83 Whitman. 

George Fox misfired on its next shot from the floor and Whitman sealed the win by making four of six free throws in the closing seconds.

The Missionaries did the most damage from the 3-point line, making 13 of 21 attempts (61.9 percent), although the Bruins were anything but bad, canning nine of 16 shots (56.9 percent) from beyond the arc.

Whitman, which leads the NWC in both scoring and steals, finished with 14 thefts as a team. In addition to Shaw's four, the Missionaries got three steals from Thompson and two each from Wheeler and Brent.

Whitman stays at home Saturday to host Pacific University at 8 p.m. in Sherwood Center. George Fox travels to Spokane on Saturday to play Whitworth at 8 p.m.

Box Score

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