CHRISTIAN BOND, Guest Writer
The Pacific Lutheran University Men’s Basketball Team was not looking to become valentines with any Wildcat from Linfield Saturday night.
The Lutes showed their love for the basketball by holding on to it. Only turning the ball over three times was the key to success. PLU was able to take the victory 60-45.
The opening moments of the game belonged to PLU. Sophomores Brandon Lester and Kyle Sawtell combined for the first five points of the game.
The Wildcats weren’t detoured as they fought back into the game. With 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Linfield led 11-10.
The action went back and fourth with each team trading buckets. With 4 minutes remaining, the Wildcats were still in charge 20-19.
Sawtell finished the half in style, hitting a pair of free throws and a shot from the three point line, giving the Lutes a 24-22 lead at half.
PLU would never look back from their halftime lead. Junior Seth Anderson came out of halftime on fire. A pair of free throws got Anderson going as he continued to convert shot after shot.
Linfield eventually closed the gap to five. After a timeout from PLU, the scoring was put back on track.
Lester showed everyone in the gym that he had ice water in his veins. Lester nailed all eight of his free throws from under four minutes remaining, sealing the deal for the Lutes.
PLU gained huge advantages in both rebounding and turnovers against Linfield. The Lutes out rebounded the Wildcats by nine, and only turned the ball over three times.
“On Saturday against Linfield, we executed at both ends of the floor. Kyle Sawtell and Seth Anderson stepped up with good games as we performed consistently at both ends,” said coach Steve Dickerson. “We still have a shot at the playoffs, a lot would have to go right but we need a great effort on both nights next weekend!”
With post season hopes hanging in the balance, the Pacific Lutheran University Men’s Basketball Team headed south to face Willamette. The team was confident that they could get the job done, having already beat Willamette when they payed a visit to PLU.
Despite first-year Dylan Foreman scoring a career high 26 points, the Lutes fell short to the Bearcats 55-64.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle with both teams knowing their seasons could be at stake.
Willamette pulled out to a slight lead, but PLU stayed close. Foreman was perfect from three point land, going 6-6. With help from sophomore Kyle Sawtell, the two kept the game extremely close. The half ended with the score at 26-28 Bearcats.
The second half started with the same intense action seen in the first half. Junior Bryce Miller was able to convert through contact on a layup. After making his free throw, the game was tied at 36 with 13 minutes left.
The Bearcats pulled away, hitting a couple jump shots to pull away from the Lutes. Foreman stayed hot from beyond the arc, nailing back-to-back threes to try and close the gap, but Willamette continued to score as well.
The gap was too big for the Lutes to close, as the Bearcats hit five of their last seven free throws, sealing the deal for Willamette, 64-55.
Coach Steve Dickerson reflected on Friday nights game.
“We came up a little short against Willamette,” said Dickerson. “Dylan Foreman had a spectacular game as Willamette concentrated on shutting sophomore Brandon Lester down. We missed a couple of shots and made a couple of errors inside of the four minute mark, which hurt us.”
Ultimately, the Lutes got beat up on the backboards. PLU was able to gobble up 29 rebounds, whereas Willamette snagged 46 boards. This led to an advantage for the Bearcats in points in the paint.
The Lutes are scheduled to play against Whitworth in Olson Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Feb. 20.
The Lutes will then wrap up the season at home, when they play against Whitman on Feb. 21, for Senior Night. 🅼