PLU's Final Shot Doesn't Fall, Willamette Leaves With Win
A three-point attempt by Cameron Schilling missed and the visiting Willamette Bearcats escaped Olson Auditorium on Saturday night with a heart-stopping 75-74 Northwest Conference men's basketball win over the Pacific Lutheran Lutes.
As a result, Pacific Lutheran falls to 4-11 overall and to 2-4 in the conference, while Willamette heads back to Salem, Ore., with a 6-8 overall mark and a 3-2 NWC record.
Schilling had a good look at the basket from the right wing but couldn't knock down what would have been the game-winning shot. The Bearcats opened the door for the Lutes by missing five of six free throws, including four in a row, inside the final minute.
With the visitors holding a 74-72 lead following a three by PLU's Cameron Reister with 1:05 left, Kyle McNally hit the first of two charity tosses with 53 seconds remaining. Schilling missed a three-point attempt on the other end, but Arvid Isaksen was fouled after snagging the offensive rebound. He hit both foul shots with 37 second left, though six seconds later the Bearcats broke a PLU press and got the ball to Sean Dart, who was fouled while going to the basket.
Dart missed both free throws with 31 seconds to play, but after a rebound and PLU timeout, Reister missed a long-range three with 13 seconds left. Willamette's Brandon Luedtke grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled, but he missed twice at the foul line with 10 seconds to play.
That left the game up to the final attempt by Schilling, but for the Lutes it was only heartbreak.
Pacific Lutheran played particularly well early on, taking its largest lead of the game at 24-13 on Daniel Landram's three-point basket with 10:44 to play in the opening half.
Trailing by 10 at 34-24, Willamette scored nine unanswered points, capped by a three from Elliot Babcock-Krenk, to pull within a point just under the four-minute mark. When McNally turned a fast break into a dunk with 12 seconds left, the Bearcats trailed 37-36 at the half.
Willamette continued that momentum into the second half, using a 14-2 run to build a 55-43 advantage with 13 minutes left. It later took a 14-point lead, 64-50, on Dart's layup with 9:36 on the clock.
Pacific Lutheran replied with its own 14-2 run, including seven points by Schilling and five by Drew Earnest, to get with 66-64 with 4:39 to play. Earnest hit a jumper to tie the game at 68-68 at the 3:17 mark, but a three-point play by Terrell Malley a little over one minute later gave the visitors a lead they would not lose.
Both teams shot the ball well, Willamette finished 50 percent (25-for-50) overall compared to 48 percent (27-for-56) for the Lutes, who also knocked down 46 percent (10-for-22) from three-point range. Both teams took care of the ball, Willamette finishing with just nine turnovers compared to 10 for PLU.
Babcock-Krenk was 5-for-10 from beyond the arc on the way to a game-high 21 points for Willamette, and he got help from Dart with 14 points and 1-0 rebounds and Malley with 17 points and five assists.
For the Lutes, Schilling finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, followed by Earnest with 17 points and Landram with 11 points and four assists.
- PLU -