WALLA WALLA, Wash. - On a night where the three point shot wasn't turning out to be the weapon of choice, defense and bench scoring paved the way for the No. 3 Whitman College men's basketball team's 92-73 win over Lewis & Clark in Northwest Conference action, Friday night at the Sherwood Center.
The win pushes the Blues (20-1, 12-0 NWC) ever so closer to a regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the league's postseason tournament later this month. Whitman still stands as the lone undefeated NWC team after winning its 16th straight.
Andrew Vickers led a well-balanced offense with 18 points (4-6) including a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. Darne Duckett added 15 points with Austin Butler stuffing the statsheet with seven points, six rebounds and two steals.
In typical fashion the Blues outran the Pioneers to the tune of a 32-20 points off turnover differential. They also neared their season low with 13 team turnovers. Second-chance points also pointed in favor of the Blues, winning that battle 18-6 as Whitman repeatedly crashed the offensive glass.
Matt Brown scored a game-high 24 points for the Pioneers who shot just 2-13 from beyond the arc and were outscored 52-30 in bench points.
The Pios led early after Daelon Floyd's bucket put his team up 10-7 with 16:41 to play in the first half. The Blues would get it rolling but Floyd's shots were still falling as his three pointer gave Lewis & Clark a 17-16 lead heading to the midway point of the half.
Whitman would eventually take the lead, pushing it to double digits on a Vickers three pointer. A Cedric Jacobs-Jones layup kept the lead at 10 and the Blues would head to the locker room up 44-33.
Whitman returned to the court for the second half, opening with a quick 6-0 run to lift the lead to 17 points and put the Pios on their heels. The lead would swell to 20 points when Jack Stewart nailed a three pointer then scored on a driving layup on the next trip down the court.
With the result nearly at hand, Trevor Osborne began to heat up. His pair of three pointers in a 1:05 span put the Blues up 74-49 and Coach Bridgeland emptied his bench moments later.
With just one game on the weekend, the Blues return to action next week against George Fox. Tipoff at the Sherwood Center is set for Friday, Feb. 8 at 8:00 p.m.