Senior Jay Merriweather had a career-night, scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds as the Pacific men's basketball team posted a 96-77 win over host Lewis & Clark on Monday night in Portland.
Merriweather led three Boxers in double figures with junior Brevin Brown and senior Chris Evans, who had 19 and 18 points, respectively. The Boxers improve to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in Northwest Conference play. Pacific is 2-0 in conference play for just the second time in the last 10 years.
A stifling Pacific defense limited Lewis & Clark to 37.3% (25-for-67) shooting from the field, who fall to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the Northwest Conference. The Pioneers were held to 18.4% (7-for-38) shooting from beyond the three-point line but they did make 83.3% (20-for-24) of their efforts from the free-throw line. Andrew Vickers and Mak Hutson teamed up for 18 and 15 points, respectively. The duo got 15 of their 33 from the free-throw line and were held to 8-for-25 shooting from the field.
Pacific scored the first seven points of the game – five of which came from senior forward Nate Olowo, who lead a Boxers' front line that scored 48 points in the paint. The Boxers stretched its lead to as much as 15 in the opening 20 minutes. Merriweather scored 16 of his 28 in the first 20 minutes to lead the Boxers and Vickers had 11 of his 18 to lead Lewis & Clark. The Pacific defense held Lewis & Clark to 30.3% (10-for-33) shooting in the first half. Pacific held a 46-35 lead at the halftime break. The 46 points are the second most by Pacific in a half in 2017-18.
Lewis & Clark scored nine of the first 14 points to begin the second half, cutting the Boxers' lead to 51-44 with 16:21 to play. A 9-2 spurt by Pacific stretched the lead to double figures for the remainder of the game. Evans scored 13 of his 18 points to lead the Boxers, plus Pacific sealed the win as they made seven of its final eight free throws in the final 20 minutes. Plus, offensively, Pacific shot 64.5% (20-for-31) in the final 20 minutes en route to the win.
The win marks the second year in a row that Pacific has come away victorious at the Pamplin Sports Center. The last time that Pacific has won in consecutive years at the Pamplin Sports Center was in 1989-90, 1990-91.
Pacific will be off for final exams before returning to action at the 2017 Hoops in Hawaii Holiday Classic, Dec. 18-19 in Honolulu, Hawaii. While in Hawaii, the Boxers will face Messiah on Monday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. and Principia on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 5:45 p.m.