No. 2 Whitman Men's Basketball Rolls Past Puget Sound, Advance To NWC Championship

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. - The Blues dominated the Northwest Conference all season and, when they took the court Thursday night against Puget Sound, showed the Sherwood Center faithful the postseason would be no different.

Joey Hewitt's 23 points on a scorching 7-11 from the floor highlighted a well-distributed scoring explosion from the No. 2 and top-seeded Whitman College men's basketball team in a 128-81 Northwest Conference semifinal win over the University of Puget Sound. Whitman (25-1) will now host in-state rival Whitworth in a rematch of last year's NWC title game.

Three Blues players scored in double figures off the bench led by Andrew Vickers' 18 points. It was Vickers and Trevor Osborne(15 points) who ignited a three-point scoring barrage in the first half to send the Loggers reeling. Whitman connected on 13 three pointers in the first period with Vickers and Osborne 8-10 combined from distance for the game. Whitman's 52.5% shooting from three-point land was just percentage points off its season high. 

The starters got in the action as well. Austin Butler missed on only one shot while flirting with a double double at eight points and eight rebounds. Jack Stewart scored all 15 of his points in three pointers with Darne Duckett adding 13 points in only 15 minutes.

UPS shot well in the first half (52% from the field, 54% from three) but still trailed by 21 at the break. The hot shooting continued only for the home team in the second half as the Blues ran away with the victory. Stellan Roberts had team highs of 21 points and nine rebounds for UPS with Gabriel Chaikin posting 12 points, six assists and five rebounds.

The Blues wasted no time in establishing a double-digit lead. A fast break layup from Robert Colton and an inside buckett from Vickers gave Whitman a 17-6 lead 5:13 into the game. 

UPS wouldn't let the game slip away just yet though. Three pointers from Roberts and Jimmy Wohrer kept its deficit at nine points but that would proceed a Whitman run of 18 unanswered points capped by back-to-back three pointers from Hewitt. The lead tinkered around 20 points for the remainder of the half as the Blues carried a 68-47 advantage into the break.

Whitman had no intention of letting the Loggers back into the game as the second half started. The period began with a Duckett three pointer then continued with three pointers from Hewitt and Osborne and, after a Butler layup, the lead had swelled to 30 points with 16:55 to play.

Even with nearly a whole half to play, the remainder of the contest seemed elementary.

The Blues now look to re-claim their NWC Tournament crown from the Bucs when the two teams square off on Saturday at the Sherwood Center. Tip time is set for either 5:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. depending on  weather conditions. Continue to check social media and the Whitman Athletics website for updates.