Tacoma, Wash. The Whitman Blues, despite a night where they shot only 42 percent from the floor, managed to put together enough on the defensive end of the floor and held on to beat the University of Puget Sound 85 – 77.
After falling behind 6-1 in the early-going, Trevor Osborne knocked down a 3 on a play when he was fouled, and Austin Butler followed up to tie the game at six. Whitman would never look back, as they would never trail again in the contest, though not for efforts throughout the game by the Loggers on their home floor.
Last year in Tacoma, the Blues had to wait until a last-second 3 pointer clanked off the rim in last year's contest, but this year the game, though close, never seemed to be in doubt. The Blues would eventually push their lead out to a 21-14 lead behind some shutdown defense, as Whitman had 6 steals in the first half, and forced 12 Puget Sound turnovers on their way to a 40-30 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Blues never could pull away from Puget Sound, as Gabriel Chaikin seemed to have an answer for every bucket for Joey Hewitt and vice versa. When Hewitt drove the lane with a layup to extend the lead to 57-52 midway through the second half, Chaikin responded with a bucket of his own and converted a free throw to cut the lead to two. After both teams traded baskets, the Blues eventually extended the lead out to 10 when Hewitt, who led the way for the Blues with 23 points on the night, made a bucket at the 6:18 mark to make the score 71-61.
Puget Sound would not go away easily, and made one last effort to try and take a game from Whitman. The Loggers scored 10 of the next 16 points, including five in a row by Chaikin and then Jimmy Wohrer. But then Hewitt came through with a clutch three pointer to once again claim control for the Blues, and Whitman would never look back.
In addition to Hewitt's 23 points, he tallied 8 rebounds and a pair of steals. Butler chipped in 19, Jack Stewart contributed 11 and Darne Duckett chipped in 10 off the bench for the Blues, who were also held back by their 15-29 effort from the free throw line and shooting 27% from three.
Whitman will conclude its regular season on Saturday in Parkland as they take on the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, game time set to begin at approximately 6 p.m. PT.