Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – A six minute run in the first half propelled the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball squad to a big win in the first night of the PLU Thanksgiving Classic inside Olson Gymnasium, gliding past Whittier College 82-68 on Friday night.
The score was 15-10 in favor of the PLU (3-2) with 12:59 left in the opening stanza before the Lutes went on a 26-12 run to close out the half, enjoying a 44-22 lead at the halftime intermission. Pacific Lutheran maintained a comfortable margin the entire second half in the blowout victory.
"We just played with a little more urgency than we did on Tuesday night," Steve Dickerson said. "Our defense was a little better. Our rebounding was really good tonight."
The Lutes outrebounded the Poets (1-1) 54-36, leading to a 36-22 advantage in points in the paint. Jared Christy had a double-double, leading the team in rebounds with14 while also adding 13 points. Dylan Foreman pulled down eight rebounds while scoring 13 points and Garth West had a nice night with five rebounds and 10 points.
All five of the PLU starters scored in double figures on the evening. Leading the way was Brandon Lester with 14 points. Kyle Sawtell had 12 points and six rebounds.
PLU's bench poured in 20 points. Tyson Birrer had seven points, four rebounds and three assists. Andrew Ardissone added five points and five rebounds. Sean McLaughlin, Zac Webb, and Markus Glenn each scored two points.
"It was good to see bench production, especially from the guys who don't get a lot of time," Ardissone said. "It's always a blast when you get to see everybody play. It was a great game tonight, fantastic team effort, had a blast."
A total of 16 Lutes got minutes in the game. The team's favorite shot happened when Theo Bigelow scored his first career points with a baseline jump shot.
"It was good because those kids work as hard as everybody else," Dickerson said. "They need to play. Guys who play all the time were very supportive of them. They were more excited about Theo's shot than they were anything else tonight."
PLU is back at it tomorrow with the second day of the PLU Thanksgiving Classic. The Lutes face the University of Dallas tomorrow at 4 p.m.