Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – A hot start propelled the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team to a 58-48 win over Northwest Conference foe Pacific University in the Lutes' return to Olson Gymnasium on Friday night.
Andrew Ardissone got the game started with a three-pointer. A layup from Brandon Lester, followed by a three from Jared Christy forced Pacific head coach Tim Cleary to call a timeout with the homestanding Lutes (9-9, 4-5 NWC) edjoying an 8-0 lead. It didn't stop the Lutes, building a 25-8 edge on a Kyle Sawtell three with 5:52 left in the half. The Boxers (9-8, 3-6 NWC) had an offensive spurt to close out the half, trailing 32-22 at half.
"We just played really good defense," PLU head coach Steve Dickerson said. "This game, our three top scorers had a total of 18 points and we still won. It speaks highly of Sawtell coming off the bench and what Ardissone and Baird have done."
The Lutes leading scorer came off the bench as Sawtell poured in 17 points. Sawtell was a perfect four-for-four in the first half, knocking down three three's while also grabbing four rebounds.
Ardissone and Baird are recent additions to the starting lineup. The duo took advantage of their opportunities, combining for 21 points. Ardissone finished with 10 points, while grabbing three rebounds and two assists. Baird had a career night, earning highs with 11 points and nine rebounds.
"I give credit to my teammates, they did a good job of finding me," Baird said. "We have good shooters on this team, they look for their shot and when their shot isn't there, that's when I look for mine."
Brandon Lester scored 10 points, doing his damage from the free throw line. Lester converted on all six of his free throw attempts. He added three assists, two rebounds and two steals to his totals.
Despite scoring two points, Dylan Forman was effective on the boards with four rebounds. He shared the ball well, leading the team with five assists. Jared Christy scored six points while corralling nine rebounds.
PLU closes the homestand tomorrow hosting Lewis & Clark College with tipoff set for 6 p.m.
"We need to do the same thing tomorrow," Dickerson said. "We need to move the ball and defend. Defending is the name of the game at this stage of the season."