Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – The second ranked team in the nation proved it to be true on Saturday night as Whitman College got the better of the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team, 82-67, in a Northwest Conference battle inside Olson Gymnasium.
The game was close at the end of the first half with the homestanding Lutes (11-12, 6-8 NWC) trailing the Blues (23-0, 14-0), 43-38. PLU briefly seized the lead early in the second half on a Brandon Lester three with 18:59 remaining but the Blues buckled down and scored 20 of the next 25 points, including 13 in a row to pull away as the Lutes shot just 22.2 percent (six-for-27) in the second half.
"We came out and made some nice back cut baskets at the beginning of the second half," Head Coach Steve Dickerson said. "After that, we quit moving."
Lester was solid for the Lutes offensively, going seven-for-18 from the field and finishing with 19 points. The guard also had two rebounds and an assists. Tyson Birrer got the start for the Lutes, finishing with 10 points, and pulling down six rebounds.
"As a team the last few games we've been struggling on the boards." Birrer said. "It was more of a team effort. We were told by the coaches we needed to crash more."
Andrew Ardissone shared the ball well for the Lutes, finishing the game with four assists. He also pulled down three rebounds.
The game proved to be physical down low with Whitman scoring 48 points in the paint. The Blues showed their depth, as the bench contributed 41 points in the win. The team was efficient all night, making 48.0 percent (36-for-75) of their shots from the field.
It's a quick turnaround for the Lutes, hosting University of Puget Sound on Tuesday in the Battle of the South Sound. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.