Missionaries roll past Pacific Lutheran

Five Whitman players score in double figures as the Missionaries lead wire-to-wire in the 87-75 NWC victory Friday night.

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WALLA WALLA - Five Whitman men players scored in double figures as the Missionaries rolled to a 87-75 victory over Pacific Lutheran at Sherwood Center Friday night.

The Missionaries led the entire game. The lead dropped to as low as five and swelled to as high as 14 points during the evening.

"I was so proud of our guys tonight," Whitman coach Eric Bridgeland said. "We led start-to-finish and really stepped our game."

The victory improves Whitman to 5-8 in conference and drops the Lutes to 6-7.

Peter Clark led all Whitman scorers with 18 points, and was 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.

As a team, Whitman was only 5-of-15 from downtown.

The Missionaries shot 44 percent from field-goal range in the game.

LuQuam Thompson dropped in 17 points from his guard position, including 8-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line.

From the point-guard position, Brandon Shaw scored 14 points and led the team in rebounding with nine.

Off the bench, Justin Artis scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

Starting freshman Drew Raher scored 10 points and had six rebounds.

Forward David Michaels added seven points.

"We played really hard," Bridgeland said. "It was the best collective effort of the season. Our focus was really good.

"We were present possession-by-possession and our sense of urgency was really good. The team was really into the game and real vocal about communication."

Whitman was cold in the first half from downtown, just 2-of-12. The Missionaries had three more attempts from behind the arc in the game, and made all of them.

Whitman led 41-33 at halftime.

"In the second half, we took what they gave us," Bridgeland said. "They took away the 3 and we drove to the hoop more.

"We have spent a lot of time shooting in practice lately and it really helped us out after halftime."

Whitman also really picked up its free-throw shooting in the second half. They shot just 4-of-8 from the line in the first half. After halftime, the Missionaries shot 75 percent, 21-of-28, to finish at 68 percent from the charity stripe in the game.

The Lutes finished at 53 percent from the free-throw line.

Pacific Lutheran also continued to bomb away from 3-point land, making 6-of-23 for 26 percent.

Whitman forced 26 Lute turnovers with pressure defense, and accumulated 12 steals - including five by Thompson and three by Shaw.

The Missionaries gave up just nine turnovers in 40 minutes of basketball.

The Lutes picked up 26 fouls to 17 for Whitman, although the Missionaries drew two technicals.

"We're taking it game-by-game," Bridgeland said. "This is my first recruiting class and we took a big step in the way we played tonight against a very good PLU team.

"We're starting to look how we want to look."

The Missionaries have a chance to be among the four teams to advance to the Northwest Conference playoffs. Whitman was in sixth place, as of Friday night, two games behind fourth-place Lewis and Clark with three games remaining.

PACIFIC LUTHERAN (75) - Conti 2-5 0-0 4, Smith 0-4 0-0 0, MacTaggart 10-12 0-1 21, Schilling 2-4 1-2 5, Trondsen 4-103-4 12, Polis 0-1 2-4 2, Earnest 4-8 0-0 9, Begalka 0-0 0-0 0, Klein 4-8 1-1 10, Reister 2-6 0-0 6, Forsythe 0-1 0-0 0, Bull 3-4 0-1 9, Reaves 0-0 0-0 0, Bryn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-63 7-13 75.

WHITMAN (87) - Shaw 6-11 2-5 14, Brandon 1-2 0-0 2, Thompson 4-12 8-11 17, Clark 6-8 4-6 18, Raher 4-8 2-4 10, Stone 1-1 0-0 2, Wheeler 0-2 0-0 0, Davidson 0-4 2-3 2, Artis 4-9 7-8 15, Michaels 2-5 3-4 7, Alvarez 0-0 0-0 0, Adcox 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 28-63 26-38 87.

Halftime score - Whitman 41, Pacific Lutheran 33. 3-point goals - PLU 6-23 (MacTaggart, Trondsen, Earnest, Klein, Reister 2), Whitman 5-15 (Thompson, Clark 4). Total fouls - PLU 26, Whitman 17. Fouled out - PLU (Conti). Technical fouls - Whitman (Alvarez, team bench). Rebounds - Whitman 41 (Shaw 9), PLU 40 (Bull 9). Turnovers - PLU 22, Whitman 9. Assists - PLU 13 (Polis 3), Whitman 8 (Shaw 3).

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