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Pacific Lutheran falls 68-65 as Lewis & Clark catches fire late

Bryce Miller / Photo by Bailey Plumb
Bryce Miller / Photo by Bailey Plumb

PARKLAND – Pacific Lutheran built a 10-point lead with five minutes to play, but Lewis & Clark hit three-pointers on five straight possessions down the stretch to defeat the Lutes 68-65 in Northwest Conference men's basketball action Friday night at Names Family Court.

Brandon Lester's jumper with 5:13 to play put PLU up 61-51, matching its largest lead of the night. But PLU made only one more basket in the game as Lewis & Clark closed the game on a 17-4 run. The Pioneers scored 12 straight to take a 63-61 lead with just over two minutes remaining before Bryce Miller tied it with a jumper. Lewis & Clark had one more three ready to go, however, as Markel Leonard put the visitors up for good at 66-63 with 1:29 on the clock.

"We played well for 35 minutes," PLU head coach Steve Dickerson said. "But we didn't defend the three well enough late, they made shots and we didn't."

A close first half featured eight lead changes and five tie scores with neither team leading by more than five points. After Lewis & Clark led for much of the opening period, the Lutes used a Kyle Sawtell three-pointer at the end of the half to spark a 12-point run across halftime as PLU held the Pioneers without a point for more than six total minutes. That helped PLU build a lead the Lutes held for nearly the entire second period, until the late run of threes turned the tide for Lewis & Clark.

Miller led PLU with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Lester scored 12 and Jared Christy tallied 10 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Jason Luhnow scored a game-high 15 points for Lewis & Clark, while Roberson Cannen scored 14, Leonard tallied 12 and Carl Appleton added 11.

PLU shot 48.1 percent overall in the game (25-of-52), while Lewis & Clark shot an even 45 percent (27-of-60). The Lutes shot 29.4 percent on three-pointers (5-of-17) and held the Pioneers to only 2-of-15 from long-range until the final outburst bumped L&C's final percentage to 33.3 (7-of-21).

The loss drops PLU's record to 9-5 overall and 2-3 in the Northwest Conference, while Lewis & Clark improves to 7-7 overall and 3-3 in conference play. The Lutes wrap up the weekend Saturday against Pacific, with tipoff set for 6 p.m. The game will feature a special halftime presentation to honor Lute Hall of Famer Roger Iverson.