WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Darne Duckett tied his season high of 20 points, Austin Butler added 18 more on a perfect 8-8 shooting and the No. 4 Whitman College men's basketball team kept their standing as the Northwest Conference's top team with a 115-81 win over Puget Sound, Saturday night at the Sherwood Center.
The Blues run 18 deep and it was the bench that certainly came alive today. In addition to Duckett's 20 points on 7-10 shooting, Jack Stewart added eight points with Robert Colton chipping in seven in just 10 minutes of action. Overall, the Blues outscored the Loggers 57-38 in bench points.
The nation's highest scoring team improved to 15-1 overall and maintained their spot at the top of the Northwest Conference as the league's lone unbeaten team (8-0). With the loss, the Loggers drop to 3-5 in league play and 7-10 overall.
Walker Shibley-Styler was the high scorer for UPS, posting 13 points on 4-7 shooting. Cal Hansen scored nine points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Blues have a habit of opening their games strong, and tonight was no different. Butler was active early with back-to-back layups then the three-point barrage began when Joey Hewitt, Andrew Vickers and Duckett all dialed long distance to put Whitman up 14-2 less than three minutes into the game.
UPS stemmed the tide though and cut the lead to 17-10 off a Shibley-Styler three pointer. Jewell Day's jumper made it a 26-18 ball game but the Blues took control from there. UPS went cold from the floor while the Blues reeled off 14 unanswered points to take a 40-18 lead with just over eight minutes to play until halftime.
Again UPS made a push. Shibley-Styler took advantage of a Logger fast break and nailed an open three pointer to cut the lead to 16 points, but the Blues would retake control. Whitman, making good on its free throws coupled with a Jack Stewart layup, established its largest lead of the game of 24 points and carried a 65-43 advantage into the break. Whitman shot a blistering 58% from the field for the big first-half lead.
The Whitman lead tinkered around 20 points for a good portion of the second half. After a Jacobs-Jones layup put his team up 21, the Blues went without a field goal for nearly three minutes while UPS cut into the lead, shaving it to just 15 points of a Stellan Roberts three pointer.
The Blues would end their drought though on a Vickers corner three pointer which ignited a run of 22 unanswered points. In the blink of an eye Whitman was up by 37 points and coasted the final eight minutes.
The Blues return to the road next weekend, first visiting Willamette on Friday, Jan. 25 for an 8:00 p.m. tip.