by Christian Bond, Guest Writer
Tied at 54 with 1:54 seconds left in the game, the Pacific Lutheran University men’s basketball team found themselves in a battle with the neighboring University of Puget Sound Loggers Feb. 3.
After a couple of shots down the stretch from the visitors, the Lutes fell short in the conference battle 61-54.
The action was tight early on in the first half. Each team traded buckets back and forth. The game was tied at 11, when UPS went on a 5 point run. The run continued, until the Loggers lead 21-12 with 10 minutes left in the half.
The Lutes fought their way back into the game in the last portion of the first half then the Lutes came back with a run of their own.
The scoring charge was lead by trio senior Austen Wilson, sophomore Brandon Lester and first-year Dylan Foreman. The three took turns putting points up to bring the Lutes within 4 points with a little over 3 minutes remaining in the period.
The Loggers were able to counter and pull away from the Lutes leading 32-28 after the completion of the first half.
Senior Terrell Williams was able to lead the Lute charge with a couple of huge layups.
Three point shots from Senior Kevin McCrossin, Lester and Foreman brought the game to a tie at 54, with a little less than two minutes left. The visitors came up big, hitting a three to pull away from the Lutes, and hitting all four of their final free throws, clinching the game. The game was a close battle.
The teams were virtually even in field goal percentage, rebounding, turnovers, fast break points and bench points. Where the Loggers gained an edge was points off of turnovers. Doubling the amount of points as their opponent, UPS was able to capitalize on the mistakes of PLU leading to a Lute loss.
An overtime thriller took place Feb. 6 between the Lutes and the visiting Lewis and Clark Pioneers. The final score was 55-51.
Senior Austen Wilson and first-year Dylan Foremen were the hero’s for the Lutes.
Wilson was able to get a crucial offensive rebound and put the ball back up for two to tie the game with 1:39 left. This would ultimately be the last bucket of regulation, forcing overtime.
In overtime, Foreman was able to drive hard to his right and finish with an acrobatic layup, pushing the Lutes ahead by one, and they would never look back.
Senior Terrell Williams was able to knock down a three to get the momentum going in PLU’s favor. Junior Shane Jacob contributed with a couple baskets, stretching the lead to seven with three minutes remaining in the half.
Senior Kevin McCrossin was able to hit two back-to-back three point shots to the delight of the crowd. A layup with four seconds left from sophomore Brandon Lester sealed the deal on a great half of basketball from the Lutes. PLU had a 10 point lead going into halftime.
The Lutes continued to try and stay ahead as McCrossin continued to bury three point buckets. With 13 minutes remaining in regulation, the Pioneers began to mount a comeback.
Wilson was able to gobble up an offensive board, and lay the ball in for two, essentially sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, junior Serg Ovchinnikov got it done everywhere for Lewis and Clark; three point land, inside the paint or from the charity stripe, it didn’t matter, he was scoring.
After cutting the lead to one, Foreman was able to send the Lutes to the lead.
Free throws from Lester and Wilson sealed the deal as the Lutes would go on to win 55-51.
Statistically, each team found advantages in different categories. PLU was out rebounded by 12 boards. This resulted in numerous second chance opportunities for Lewis and Clark, but luckily they rarely cashed in.
Ultimately, the Lutes took better care of the basketball. The Pioneers turned the ball over six more times than the Lutes. This resulted in 14 points off of turnovers compared to only six for the visitors.
It was raining both outdoors and inside Olson Auditorium as the Pacific Lutheran University men’s basketball team stormed past George Fox with a 70-58 win Feb. 7. The Lutes got it done on offense and defense, and earned another conference win
Junior Bryce Miller had a stand out performance. The Lute big man gobbled up an abundance of rebounds, and with the help of his teammates, PLU was able to roll to a 70-58 victory over George Fox.
Early on, the game was tight. George Fox was able to go on a run and stretch their lead to six with eleven minutes remaining in the half. Both teams scored with ease throughout the first half.
PLU stayed persistent in trying to cut away at the Bruin lead. Momentum started to swing in favor of the Lutes when senior Kevin McCrossin found senior Terrell Williams and hooked him up with a beautiful assist, putting the Lutes within striking distance.
Williams continued to attack the basket off the dribble, earning layups or trips to the free throw line. The half ended with the Bruins in the lead 33-29.
The Lutes came out of halftime strong, converting on the first four buckets of the second half moving them to the lead.
George Fox would retaliate, not letting the Lutes pull away too far. George Fox had been running a full court, trapping defense for the entire game.
With seven minutes left in the game, McCrossin hit back-to-back three’s, followed by a layup and a jumper from Miller and Williams. PLU never looked back from there, finishing the game and securing the win.
The Lutes did a great job on both ends of the floor on Saturday night. The conferences leading scorer, senior Jonny Howard of UPS, was shut down by the Lutes, allowing him to only 8 points.
Miller was phenomenal on the backboards as well. He tied his career high with 15 rebounds. He also had 13 points.
All together, the Lutes out-rebounded the Bruins by 20, giving them a huge advantage in the game.
Today and tomorrow, the team travels to Oregon to take on Willamette and Linfield. The Lutes could potentially tie and pass Willamette in the Northwest Conference standings, baring PLU wins both of their games and Willamette loses both of their contests. Linfield sits at the bottom of the conference.
The push for the playoffs is on.