By Giancarlo Santoro, Sports Writer
Following the women’s game, the Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound men’s basketball teams did their part to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Players on both sides were encouraged to embrace their feminine side by wearing pink during warm-up.
Although neither team ended up donning the same pink warm-up shirts as the players of the women’s team did, both teams treated fans to a real nail-biter at the Names Family Court.
Despite the cordial attitude prior to the start of the game, the fierce rivals battled to earn Tacoma bragging rights once it began. UPS hit two late free throws to pull out a close 61-57 victory. With the loss, PLU fell to 7-15 overall and 4-9 in NWC. UPS improved to 12-10 overall and 8-5 in conference.
“The first 10 minutes we played about as bad as we could play,” head coach Steve Dickerson said. “I thought after that guys came off the bench and played really hard and got us back in the game. We had opportunities we didn’t take advantage of, which is pretty much the story of our season, and UPS hung tough.”
A trio of young Lutes led the scoring in the fast-paced game, with first-years Brandon Lester and Billy Kiel putting up 16 and 11 points respectively, while sophomore Seth Anderson recorded seven. Senior Arvid Isaksen contributed with five points and eight rebounds.
“It was a tough one,” senior Kai Hoyt said. “It’s always tough losing to our archrivals, and we are knocked out of the playoffs now, so that’s disappointing. But there are three more games to go and hopefully we finish out strong.”
Coaches and team members recognized seniors Hoyt, Isaksen and Johnny Tveter for their hard work as student-athletes after the Lutes final home game against Pacific Feb. 14. The men will finish the 2013-14 NWC season away at Willamette and Linfield at the end of February.