The Puget Sound Loggers are far enough into the season, they do not panic easily.
They just wait for what coach Justin Lunt calls the “weardown factor” to take effect.
And it did in plenty of time Tuesday night against cross-town rival Pacific Lutheran University.
After the Lutes played a near-perfect first half, the Loggers rallied to take an 84-70 victory at Olson Auditorium in Parkland.
With the win, UPS (17-7, 10-5 in NWC) pulled to within a half-game of Linfield for third place in the Northwest Conference. The Loggers finish the regular season Saturday at Lewis & Clark in Portland.
Gabriel Chaikin and Jimmy Wohrer led the Loggers with 14 points apiece. Zac Webb led the Lutes (4-19, 1-14) with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
PLU closed the first half on an 11-0 run to take a 51-42 halftine lead.
Not only were the Lutes outworking UPS, they outshot them from 3-point land, making six of them, to UPS’s four.
“They beat us to every 50-50 ball. We didn’t do the things characteristic of our effort,” Lunt said. “A lot of that had to do with PLU. They rattled us.”
It took a whole 5:33 for the Loggers to wipe out the deficit after halftime.
And Chaikin, a 5-foot-10 junior guard who played at small-school Auburn Adventist, hit back-to-back 3-pointers that got UPS going.
The first one near the right-center arc gave the visitors a 64-59 lead.
And after a PLU turnover, Chaikin found himself near the same spot, but stepped back a few feet.
He fired away. The ball hit the front rim, but took a friendly bounce in — and the Loggers led, 67-59, with 9:36 to go.
Asked how far back he feels comfortble shooting 3-pointers, he quietly responded, “as far back as necessary.”
PLU was forced into 16 turnovers in the second half, and made just three field goals in the first 17 minutes.
“What happened tonight was sort of expected,” Lutes coach Chad Murray said. “Our guys aren’t experienced enough to understand the grind of a 40-minute game like that. When you get to the 25- or 30-minute mark, you legs turn to jello, and your mind goes.”
UPS 71, at PLU 36: The Loggers got a much-needed victory to stay alive in the NWC playoff hunt, but the real news is ths status of standout center Jamie Lange.
Lange went down hard after getting tangled up with PLU’s Madison Green-Hayward underneath the UPS basket at the 3:39 mark of the third quarter, and immediately let out an agonizing scream as she clutched her right knee.
It was the same knee she severely injured while at Sumner High School in 2015.
She needed assistance to get off the court, but was seen slowly walking around in the hallfway at Olson Auditorium before settling back on the Loggers’ bench with a big ice pack taped around the knee.
“It is the same knee that she already injured,” UPS coach Cascey Kushiyama said. “That is kind of the hard part.
“I’ve been in this long enough ... that I assume the worst. When you hear that blood-curling cry, it is just the worst sound.”
Lange, the 6-foot sophomore, was a big reason the Loggers got off to such a hot start. She scored 10 first-quarter points, including eight in the first 4:58.
Cassidy Daugherty also buried a pair of 3-pointers. The second one gave UPS (12-12, 7-8 in NWC) a 20-5 lead with 3:59 remaining.
The Loggers now must win at Lewis & Clark this weekend to clinch the No. 4 spot in the conference tournament.
“Knowing where we are in the standings, I put the challenge upon them to dictate how they wanted the rest of the season to go,” Kushiyama said.