Lutes Lose Heartbreaker to Northwest University

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WALLA WALLA - Stedman Richardson hit two free throws with one-half second on the clock on Friday night to lift Northwest University to a 75-74 victory over Pacific Lutheran at the Walla Walla Vineyard Inn Classic hosted by Whitman College.

Stedman's charity tosses culminated a Northwest rally from 13 points down early in the second half. The Lutes led by a point at 74-73 but missed the front end of two bonus free throws, opening the door to the Eagles.

Northwest (4-1) led 22-12 halfway through the first half when the Lutes went on an 18-7 run to take their first lead of the game, 30-29, on a three-point basket by Tony Polis with 4:55 remaining in the opening period. Polis hit another trey to give his team a 39-37 lead heading into the half.

Leading 42-41, the Lutes (1-2) scored 14 of the next 16 points - nine by Andrew Earnest - to take a 56-43 advantage with 12:54 remaining in the game. Northwest whittled away at its deficit, however, and eventually tied the score at 67-67. That led to the closing minutes and Richardson's clutch free throw shooting.

Kyle MacTaggart led the Lutes with 17 points, nine of them from the free throw line, followed by Earnest with 14 and Curtis Trondsen with 13. Trondsen came off the bench to lead the team with five rebounds, though Northwest held a 34-29 advantage on the boards.

Richardson and Ahmaad Cook both scored 12 points to lead Northwest.

Pacific Lutheran returns to action at the Walla Walla Vineyard Inn Classic at 6 p.m. Saturday when it plays Eastern Oregon University, which beat tournament host Whitman on Friday night.