Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team's offense went dormant for a pivital stretch of Friday night's Northwest Conference clash against Willamette University as the Lutes were downed 80-49 inside Olson Gymnasium.
The Lutes (4-9, 1-4 NWC) fell behind early, giving up a 9-0 run to open the game. It was erased when Kelton Williams hit a breakaway layup near the nine minute mark. The two team's traded the lead four times as Willamette (7-7, 2-3 NWC) took a 35-23 lead into halftime. Willamette's size underneath, along with their three point shooting was too much for the Lutes, as the Bearcats pounded their way to victory. Hamstringing the Lutes was an extended scoring drought, going nearly 14 minutes without a field goal, a stretch that extended across both halves.
"We kind of fell back into our pattern of going scoreless for long stretches," head coach Chad Murray said. "We can't afford to do that. It puts way too much pressure on our defense. In the second half, we didn't firm up defensively, and allowed our offense to filter into the defense. All of a sudden we aren't defending, or scoring, which makes it worse."
Sean McLaughlin shined for the Lutes, coming off the bench and dropping a career-high 19 points on a nine-for-10 shooting night. McLaughlin additionally hauled in five rebounds. Kelton Williams was successful for the Lutes off the bench as well, adding 10 points along with five rebounds. Kyle James tacked on eight while dishing out a team-high five assists.
"Every single bucket came off an assist from a teammate," McLaughlin said. "We were being unselfish and making good plays."
The Lutes get another chance tomorrow in front of the home crowd in Olson Gymnasium tomorrow night with a game against Lewis & Clark College at 6 p.m.