Panthers claw past Missionaries

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WALLA WALLA — In a game that saw numerous lead changes and no team lead by more than eight points, SUNY College at Old Westbury edged Whitman College’s men, 83-80,

Tuesday night in a non-conference basketball matchup at Sherwood Athletic Center.

The Panthers, who are making a West Coast trip, improve to 2-1 (they beat Lewis & Clark in their road trip opener).

It was the season opener for the Missionaries who fall to 0-1.

Tyrik Tucker led Old Westbury with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

He got plenty of help, though, as Al Alexander added 21 points and three other players were in double figures: LeRoy Floyd (14), P.J. Page (13) and Ray Parker (10).

Although the Missionaries were limited to 35.8 percent shooting from the field, they, too, had five players in double digits, led by Ben Eisenhardt and Dominic Lippi, who both had 17 points. Matt Mounier had 14, and Philip Chircu and Evan Martin each had 10.

While the Panthers made their living inside the arc, with many of their points coming on drives to the hoop or follow-ups, the Missionaries — after an early effort to go inside — got many of their points from the perimeter. Whitman was 10-of-30 from beyond the arc. The 30 3-point attempts comprised almost half of their total shots.

Old Westbury, on the other hand, was only 3-of-13 from 3-point land.

The Missionaries took an early 8-1 lead on a foul shot from Eisenhardt, but the Panthers came alive and outscored Whitman 14-5 to take a 15-13 lead on a trey from Alexander.

The teams went back-and-forth the rest of the first stanza with Old Westbury taking a 40-37 advantage into the locker room.

In the second half, each team went on short runs to take a three- or five-point lead only to see the other squad come right back and seize the advantage.

The Missionaries led for the last time with 8:44 remaining, when Chircu hit a baseline jumper to make the score 65-64.

The Panthers retook the lead moments later on two foul shots by Tucker and looked as though they might pull away when they led by as many as eight points, courtesy of an Alexander 3-pointer from straight away.

But the Missionaries clawed back to cut the lead to one with 51 seconds remaining when the Panthers were called for goal tending on a layup attempt by Eisenhardt.

The next trip down the floor, Alexander, late in the shot clock, drove right and hit a floater from about 10 feet away to make it 83-80 with 12 seconds in regulation.

The Missionaries set up for a 3, and Eisenhardt took it from the left wing, but the shot was off the mark;. There was a scramble for the rebound and by the time Lippi came up with it, there was no time left and Old Westbury had the victory.

Whitman now travels to St. Louis to compete in the Lopata Classic, hosted by Washington University . The Missionaries face the University of Chicago at 4 p.m. Friday at 4 p.m. Pacific Time, and Washington University on Saturday evening.

Old Westbury 83, Whitman 80

OLD WESTBURY (83) — Gjoniekaj 0-2 1-2 1, Tucker 7-14 8-9 22, Alexander 9-14 1-5 21, LeRoy 7-9 0-0 14, Page 6-8 1-1 13, Bostick 0-0 0-0 0, Singh 0-2 0-0 0, Morris 0-1 0-0 0, Parker 4-8 1-2 10, Trebuse 0-2 2-4 2. Totals 33-60 14-23 83.

WHITMAN (80) — Mounier 4-10 2-2 14, Eisenhardt 4-13 9-12 17, Lippi 6-7 1-1 17, Duckworth 1-7 5-7 7, Callahan 0-1 0-0 0, Tochi 2-10 1-2 5, Clough 0-2 0-0 0, Martin 4-5 2-3 10, Chircu 3-10 2-2 10, Gagliardi 0-1 0-0 0, Wade 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-67 22-29 80.

Halftime score — OW 40, Whit 37. 3-point goals — OW 3-13 (Alexander 2, Parker), Whit 10-30 (Mounier 4, Lippi 4, Chircu 2). Total fouls — OW 22, Whit 21. Fouled out — OW (Gjoniekaj). Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — OW 44 (Tucker 11), Whit 37 (Mounier 8). Turnovers — OW 19, Whit 13. Assists — OW 9 (Tucker 5), Whit 10 (Duckworth 4, Tochi 4).

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