No. 4 Blues Edge Titans On Hewitt's Late Three Pointer

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. Jack Stewart dropped a team season-high 29 points off the bench and Joey Hewitt drained a late three pointer to lift the No. 4 Whitman College men's basketball team to a 105-103 win over Illinois Wesleyan in the opener of the Cal Lutheran Holiday Classic on Friday.

Austin Butler added a double double for the Blues (9-1) with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Darne Duckett scored 17 points, the most of his three starts this season. Hewitt added 15 points including his lone, yet clutch three pointer that all but sealed the Whitman win. Just seconds after Colin Bonnett's three pointer regained the lead for the Titans, Cedric Jacobs-Jones found a streaking Hewitt who nailed an uncontested elbow three which all but proved to be the gamewinner.

Bonnett scored 17 points for Illinois Wesleyan (8-4) while Brady Rose scored a team-high 25 points on a sizzling 10-13 shooting. Jason Gregoire put up 11 points and six rebounds and Grant Wolfe flirted with a double double scoring eight points and handing out nine assists.

Illinois Wesleyan was dominant in the paint but the Blues, in their usual fashion, capitalized on Titan turnovers for a plus-12 advantage in points off turnovers. Bench points also proved key for the Blues which included 31 of their 55 first-half points.

The teams went back and forth for the first half of the opening period but the Blues began to heat up. Butler scored on back-to-back layups and Trevor Osborne's three pointer opened up a double digit lead at 33-23. Whitman continued to lead before IWU navigated back into the game with consecutive Bonnett jumpers evening the score at 50-50 and helped his team to a two-point halftime lead.

IWU continued to lead in the early stages of the second half before Whitman's offense and defense both came alive. The Blues allowed just one Titan basket over a 6:10 stretch while establishing a nine-point lead after a pair of made Butler free throws.

Down the stretch though the two teams went back and forth. Stewart's layup put the Blues up three with 1:29 to play but Gregoire's and-one layup tied the game at 100-100 with just over a minute to play. Bonnett later gave his team a one-point lead with 32 seconds to play but just before Hewitt's dagger three pointer seconds later.

The Blues are back in action Saturday for their final game of 2018, closing out the Classic against Cal Lutheran at 8:00 p.m.