Written by Student Assistant Vanna Tangonan
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team closed out its first Northwest Conference weekend inside Olson Gymnasium undefeated after downing Willamette University 81-70 on Saturday evening. Jared Christy netted his second consecutive double-double while Brandon Lester and Kyle Sawtell both ended the night in double figures.
The Lutes (7-6, 2-2 NWC) and the Bearcats (2-11, 0-4 NWC) were neck and neck in the opening five minutes before the Lutes pulled away, building a 30-14 edge with 9:49 remaining as 11 of the Lutes opening 22 points came from Lester.
Willamette tried to tie the Lutes, pulling within two with 4:47 before the half but the Lutes answered with 14 of the next 20 points and maintained a nine-point 49-41 lead at the half..
The Bearcats slowly gained momentum in the second half, closing within two with 13:07 remaining but the Lutes maintained a slight lead the rest of the way before building back up a double-digit lead on an Erik Swartout jumper with 1:03 remaining.
"It feels great to get the win and puts us back on track in conference. We started out 0-2 so this was really important for us to win. We as a team hope to continue to work hard going into this half of the season." said Jared Christy
Lester led the Lutes with 20 points while Sawtell added 16. Christy added 14 points and a team-best 16 rebounds and six assists.
"This was huge for us. We had a three weak break and to come in after that long break and win back to back games this weekend is a great feeling. When we worked hard and play together as a team the results are amazing." said Lester.
Both of PLU's wins came by double digits this weekend after downing George Fox University 92-75 on Friday night. PLU opens a four-game road swing next Friday against Whitman College before returning back t Olson Gymnasium on Jan. 27 against Pacific University.