Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – A couple of big runs proved to be too much for the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team to overcome on Friday night, falling 87-71 to second-ranked Whitman College in a Northwest Conference clash inside the Sherwood Center.
The game was tied at 20 with 10:23 remaining in the first half before Whitman's Jase Harrison made a layup that sparked a 14-5 run over the next 6:22. The Lutes (7-7, 2-3 NWC) were able cut into the lead, making it a 41-38 game at the half. The Blues (14-0, 5-0 NWC) went on another run in the second half, mounting a 19-9 run and putting the Lutes down 69-56 with 11:15 left to go. The deficit proved to be too much for PLU to overcome as the Blues remained undefeated and atop the league standings.
"We showed some grit," head coach Steve Dickerson said. "We did not keep them off the offensive boards. They scored 87 points and only had seven assists, which tells you we couldn't stop them off the dribble."
The rebound margin was only three as Whitman outrebounded the Lutes 44-41. PLU shared the ball well, dishing out 17 assists. Whitman won the turnover battle, forcing the Lutes to turn the ball over 19 times, leading to 18 points off turnovers for the nationally-ranked Blues.
Four Lute starters scored in double figures. Jared Christy continued his success from last weekend, finishing the night with his third consecutive double-double with 19 points and 17 rebounds. Christy was five-for-nine from the field, while going nine-for-12 from the free throw line.
"It feels good to continue playing well but we all need to work on our rebounding and battling in the paint. Myself included," said Christy.
Brandon Lester had 13 points, with three rebounds and two assists. Kyle Sawtell was five-for-nine from the field, finishing with 11 points. Dylan Foreman added 10 points and five assists.
PLU's bench scored scored 15 points, eight of which belonged to Andrew Ardissone. Ardissone was efficient, going three-for-four from the field, hitting on both of his three point attempts. The senior had four rebounds and a steal. Tyson Birrer scored five points, grabbing two rebounds, dishing out three assists while nabbing a steal.
The Lutes remain in eastern Washington tomorrow, taking on Whitworth University at 6 p.m.