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Lester Drops 25 as Lutes Cage Wildcats, 67-54

Lester Drops 25 as Lutes Cage Wildcats, 67-54

Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Brandon Lester scored 25 points, leading the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team to a 67-54 win over Linfield College on Saturday in a Northwest Conference contest inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.

Lester led all scorers with his 25 points, going six-for-16 from the field and hitting three three-pointers. The senior guard was additionally a perfect six-for-six from the free throw line while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists.

"Tonight was a big win for us," Lester said. "We came out with a lot of energy and carried out our game plan from the beginning. It was a big win for us heading into the second half of conference."

The Wildcats (10-7, 4-4 NWC) drained a three to open the game but it was all Lutes after that with PLU collecting the next 10 points. The Lutes (8-9, 3-5 NWC) never looked back, owning a 35-23 lead at the halftime break. The Lutes' lead swelled to 16 in the second half before a Linfield run cut the gap to three with eight minutes remaining. Dylan Foreman responded with a three and the Lutes slowly built their lead back up to double digits en route to the 13-point win.

Foreman filled it up, scoring 19 points on seven-for-15 shooting. He was four-for-eight from three point range. Jared Christy was kept in check offensively, scoring just four points but made up for it on the boards, grabbing 10 rebounds for PLU.

The Lutes made adjustments to their starting lineup, as Joshua Baird and Andrew Ardissone were in the first five against Linfield. Baird was all over the place, scoring four points, grabbing four rebounds, and coming up with a block. Ardissone grabbed a two rebounds and made two free throws.

"Drew and Josh are total team guys," Steve Dickerson said. "They move the ball, defend, care deeply about the team. Lester and Foreman benefit from Drew and Josh being on the floor. It was a very good effort tonight by fifteen guys who really wanted to win."

Kyle Sawtell and Tyson Birrer had productive nights off the bench for the Lutes. Sawtell scored seven points, making a pair of three's. Sawtell got six rebounds and had two assists. Birrer scored six points, going three-for-four from the field.

The Lutes shot the ball well from everywhere against Linfield. They went 23-for-49 from the field, while going nine-for-22 from deep. The team was strong from the free throw line, finishing the game shooting 85.7 percent (12-for-14).  The Lutes outrebounded the Wildcats 32-27.

PLU returns home to host a pair of game. Pacific University pays a visit on Friday for an 8 p.m. tipoff. On Saturday, the game against Lewis & Clark College starts at 6 p.m.