FOREST GROVE, Ore. - On the same night that Pacific Lutheran won its fifth consecutive Northwest Conference men's basketball road game, the Lutes moved into a second-place tie in the conference standings.
Andrew Earnest continued his outstanding play of late, scoring 17 points to lead four PLU players in double figures during a convincing 86-57 thumping of the host Pacific Boxers on Saturday night in Stoller Center.
The Lutes, 12-6 overall, improved to 7-3 in the conference and are tied with Lewis & Clark for second in the standings behind unbeaten (10-0) and No. 2-ranked Whitworth. Of PLU's remaining six conference games, four are on its home court, Olson Auditorium. Next weekend, the Lutes host fourth-place Whitman at 8 p.m. Friday before facing Whitworth starting at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Boxers led only once, that coming about three minutes into the game when Andrew Beatty hit a three-point shot to make the score 5-4. The Lutes proceeded to score 18 unanswered points to take a 22-5 advantage with 12:14 left in the first half. Earnest scored nine points during the run that also featured seven layups by the Lutes.
Pacific never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way, and PLU led by as many as 33 points, 85-52, on a pair of Arvid Isaksen free throws coming with 3:17 remaining in the game.
The Lutes shot 63 percent from the field (19-for-30) in the opening half and finished the game with 57 percent marksmanship (32-for-56). Earnest, one of the best three-point shooters in Division III men's basketball, was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc on his way to his game-high total of 17 points.
Colin Wester scored 13 points to lead the Boxers, now 3-14 overall and 2-8 in the conference.
- PLU -