It was a close game in the end, but PLU’s early struggles proved insurmountable as the Pacific Boxers held off a strong charge from the Lutes for an 81-73 men’s basketball victory Friday night in Parkland.
For PLU (4-10 overall, 2-3 Northwest Conference), which had trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, only Cameron Schilling and Bryce Miller showed signs of life in the early going.
But sophomore point guard Daniel Landram finally broke through with a two-point basket after 12 minutes of 0-for-7 shooting from the rest of the squad.
With Landram warming up, PLU was given a further spark from Lutes coach Steve Dickerson, who was given a technical foul for arguing a no call on a hard screen laid by Boxers (1-2, 7-5) senior big man Dustin Bowser that left Landram on the ground.
With the offense beginning to click, the Lutes finished the first half on a 6-0 run to pull with four at 30-26.
The resurgence continued into the second half, with PLU tying the game twice, but the Lutes were never able to overcome the deep deficit.
Dickerson said one aspect continued to hold the team back.
“We couldn’t defend,” he said. “I told our kids up front that was the worst defensive performance that we’ve had. They did to us what we try to do to people. They try to make people guard you for 25 or 26 seconds and we just didn’t do it.
“We didn’t play well. They kicked our butt. We had no answers for them.”
Playing most of the game in foul trouble, Schilling, a senior forward, finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Freshman center Miller finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
At Linfield 70, UPS 65: Andrew Batiuk scored 25 points for the Wildcats (3-11, 2-3), who rallied in the final five minutes to steal a conference victory at Ted Wilson Gymnasium in McMinnville, Ore.
Rex Holmes’ 3-pointer gave the Loggers (6-8, 1-4) a 63-55 lead with 4:40 to go, but Linfield went on an 11-2 run – capped by Brandon Harris’ layin with 1:20 remaining.
At PLU 52, Pacific 44: The Lutes (5-7, 2-3) rallied in the final four minutes to take the lead from the Boxers (9-4, 2-3) and slowly ran away with it.
Leading the charge was junior post Samantha Potter, who scored 13 points and pulled in 10 rebounds.
Puget Sound 71, at Linfield 58: Katy Ainslie scored 14 points, and Sarah Stewart added 11 as the Loggers (10-4, 3-2) dominated the interior to grab a conference road victory.
It was the Loggers’ 15th victory over the Wildcats (1-9, 0-4) in their past 17 games.