PARKLAND, Wash. – Shooting only 20 percent in the first half, their lowest percentage in almost four years, the George Fox University Bruins fell too far behind Pacific Lutheran University to catch up and dropped a 74-51 decision to the Lutes in the Northwest Conference men's basketball action Saturday night here at Olson Auditorium.
The Bruins stayed close on the heels of the Lutes through the opening 10 minutes of the game, even taking a 5-4 lead four minutes in on a three-pointer by Stephen Wiseley. However, the Lutes were able to open the game up behind the shooting of Andrew Earnest, who hit 4-5 shots, including 4-4 from beyond the arc, for 14 points in the period.
After a layup by Mike Taylor brought the Bruins within three at 14-11 with 9:23 left in the period, the Lutes ran off a string of 10 unanswered points, featuring two of Earnest's threes, to make it 24-11 with 5:44 to go. The Bruins missed six shots during that period. Two free throws by Victor Bull extended the PLU lead to 17 points at 32-15 with 31 ticks left before Taylor hit a three, cutting the halftime score to 32-18.
George Fox connected on only 6 of 30 tries in the half, their worst percentage since going 5-30 (.167) in the first half of an 83-53 loss to Whitworth University on Jan. 6, 2007. The halftime score was as close as it was only because the Lutes were not lighting up the nets much better, hitting 11-32 for a .344 mark.
The Bruins' shooting eye improved in the second half to .379 (11-29), but the Lutes made a major leap in their accuracy to remain comfortably ahead, hitting at a .520 clip (13-25). The Bruins made a small run at the Lutes early in the half to get within 11 when Wiseley canned another three to make it 44-33 with 13:12 to play, but PLU responded with a jumper by Earnest and gradually pulled away. The Lutes extended the lead to 73-49 on four free throws by James Conti at the 2:11 mark after a technical foul on the Bruin bench, and took their largest lead of 74-49 on a free throw by Arvid Isaksen with 1:41 left.
Wiseley was the only Bruin to score in double figures with 14 points, while Davis Martin was next with a career-high nine. Taylor tied for game honors in rebounds with seven, but the Bruins were out-boarded 43-35. Wiseley and Cole Whitehurst had three assists each. The Bruins finished with a .288 shooting percentage (17-59), including .316 (6-19) on threes and .647 (11-17) on free throws.
Earnest had a game-high 19 points for PLU, hitting 6-7 from the field and 3-3 from the line, and Cameron Schilling added 12 points along with seven rebounds. Conti and Tony Polis had three assists apiece. The Lutes shot .421 (24-57) for the game, .417 (5-12) on threes, and .840 (21-25) from the charity stripe.
NEXT: George Fox (1-4, NWC 1-1) goes to Portland State University Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. game at the Stott Center in Portland, the first game for the Bruins against an NCAA Division I opponent in 33 years. The Bruins lost at Portland State 121-84 on Jan. 13, 1978 ... Pacific Lutheran (2-4, NWC 1-1) hosts St. Martin's University Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in a non-conference contest.