Wildcats Nip Whit Men in Final Seconds

News Release Date:
Friday, February 19

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Freshman LuQuam Thompson scored 18 points and sophomore David Michaels added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but a young Whitman College men's basketball team fell a few points short in a 74-70 loss to Linfield College Friday night in McMinnville, Ore.

Dropping a four-point decision to the Wildcats for the second time this season, Whitman ended its season with records of 6-10 in the Northwest Conference and 12-13 overall.

David Michaels
LuQuam Thompson

Linfield retained its slim hold on second place in the NWC, improving to 10-5 and 12-11 overall. To clinch second, the Wildcats need to beat league-leading Whitworth Saturday night, or have George Fox lose at Pacific Lutheran.

Whitman, which also got 14 points and four steals from sophomore Brandon Shaw Friday night, will finish in a tie for fifth place if Pacific Lutheran loses Saturday.

Trailing Linfield 42-37 at halftime, Whitman twice rallied to within five points during the early stages of the second stanza.

The Wildcats stretched their lead to 12 points, 63-51, by the midpoint of the half, but the Missionaries surged again, shaving their deficit to 67-62 on two free throws by Michaels with 4:43 remaining.

After Thompson canned a 3-pointer and Linfield missed at its end, Thompson added two free throws to pull Whitman to within 69-67 with three minutes left.

The Wildcats regained some breathing room with two free throws of their own, but Thompson hit another charity toss and junior Justin Artis drained a jumper, capitalizing on a steal by senior Jordan Wheeler, to leave Linfield clinging to 71-70 edge with 44 seconds still on the clock.

Brandon Shaw

Linfield missed its next shot and Michaels rebounded, giving the Missionaries a shot at the lead in the closing seconds. That opportunity fizzled on a turnover and the Wildcats converted three free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.

Linfield's Cody Tesoro was deadly from the 3-point stripe, making six of seven attempts from the beyond the arc while scoring 30 points. K.C. Wiser added 18 points and eight rebounds while Drew Schroeder had 11 points.

Jumpers by Artis and freshman Drew Raher gave Whitman an 11-9 lead early in the first half, but a 22-8 Linfield run had the home team on top 33-20. The Missionaries still trailed by 11 points with five minutes left in the half, but Thompson hit four jumpers down the stretch to trim Whitman's halftime deficit to just five points.

With freshman Peter Clark grabbing seven rebounds, Whitman battled the Wildcats to a 34-34 stalemate on the backboards. Clark and Artis also had two steals apiece as the Missionaries forced Linfield into 19 turnovers.

The Wildcats shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the first half and finished at 44.9 percent for the game. With Tesoro doing most of the damage, Linfield finished with eight 3-pointers, four more than Whitman.

Box Score

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