Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Despite an early lead the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team was unable to weather a late run by Northwest Conference rival Pacific University on Saturday night, falling 77-70 inside the Stoller Center.
The opening minutes saw five ties and one lead change before the Lutes (4-4, 0-2 NWC) seized control with an 8-0 run, stretching a two-point edge into a 10-point bulge. A Dylan Foreman jumper ignited the run with a Sean McLaughlin layup giving PLU the 28-18 edge with 2:52 left before halftime. The host Boxers (4-2, 1-1 NWC) responded and pulled within a possession before a pair of free throws from Brandon Lester gave the visiting Lutes a 32-27 edge heading into the halftime break.
Pacific seized its first lead of the second half on a layup with 14:47 remaining. Foreman tipped the lead back to PLU the following possession but the Boxers hit three-pointers on their next three possessions to take a six point lead. A Lester three closed the gap to just a possession with just over 10 minutes left before Pacific mounted a 16-4 run over the next six minutes to build a 15-point gap. PLU battled back and closed the deficit to just seven but was unable to get any closer before time expired.
Three Lutes finished in double figures with Foreman leading the way with a season-high 19 points. The junior hit seven of his 10 shots from the field while also grabbing a team-high six rebounds. Tyson Birrer added 17 points while Kyle Sawtell added 15 points and Lester chipped in nine.
"I've been in a shooting slump the last couple of games so I focused on being aggressive as soon as possible while also finding the right shots within the offense," said Dylan Foreman.
PLU shot 51.9 percent (28-for-54) from the field, including a blistering 60.9 percent (14-for-23) in the opening half while owning a 34-26 edge in points in the paint. The Lutes turned the ball over 17 times, allowing the Boxers to gain a 20-2 edge in points off turnovers.
"I think aside from the turnovers, our offense did a great job of getting really good shots throughout the game. Obviously there are things to iron out, especially defensively but offensively we showed how capable we can be."
The Lutes resume their non-conference slate on Friday, welcoming Portland Bible College to Olson Gymnasium for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.