Whitman Spoils Lutes' Return to Olson Hardwood

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PARKLAND - Brandon Shaw scored 16 points to lead four Whitman players in double figures as the visiting Missionaries spoiled Pacific Lutheran's return to Olson Auditorium with a 69-57 Northwest Conference men's basketball win on Friday night.

The Lutes, now 12-7 overall and 7-4 in the conference, came into the game on a four-game winning streak, all of them on the road. The Missionaries shot 50 percent and limited the Lutes to 41 percent accuracy to move into a third-place tie with the Lutes in the conference standings. Whitman is now 14-6 overall and 7-4 in the conference.

The first half was played at a high-pitched tempo and featured four ties and five lead changes. PLU took a 12-7 lead on Andrew Earnest's three-point basket with 5 1/2 minutes gone, but Whitman went on a 13-4 run to take a 20-16 lead with 11:43 left in the half. Ignas Pavilonis both started and ended the surge with long-range three pointers.

The Missionaries then broke away from a 21-21 tie and eventually took a 35-28 lead into halftime, and they never trailed in the second period. The Lutes got as close as five points on two occasions, the second at 42-37 on a three-point hoop by Tony Polis with 14:23 left in the game, but Whitman built on its lead from there. It led by as many as 14 points before settling for the 12-point win.

With the win, the Missionaries earned a season series split with the Lutes, PLU having taken a 61-57 victory in Walla Walla back on Jan. 8.

Shaw scored eight points in each half and Josh Duckworth tallied 10 of his 15 points in the final half. Pavilonis had 13 points and led the Missionaries with seven rebounds, while David Michael chipped in 10 points.

Kyle MacTaggart led PLU with 16 points, including 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, but he was the only Lutes player in double figures. MacTaggart also paced PLU with seven rebounds, though Whitman won that statistic, 32-26.

Both teams return to conference action on Saturday, the Lutes hosting No. 2-ranked and unbeaten Whitworth at 6 p.m., and Whitman traveling across town to face Puget Sound.

- PLU -