Coach Steve Dickerson isn’t amused by his latest brain teaser.
He knows he does not have a plethora of reliable scorers on his young Pacific Lutheran University men’s basketball squad.
And when they suffer through an off night?
It is nearly unbearable.
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Guard Brandon Lester was good for the Lutes on Saturday night with 22 points. But one scorer was nowhere near enough to keep the Whitworth Pirates from waltzing out of their home fieldhouse with a 78-59 Northwest Conference victory in Spokane.
Lester scored 14 of his points in the first half, including four 3-pointers. The rest of the Lutes’ starting lineup missed on all 12 field-goal attempts, and combined for one point.
In that same 20 minutes, Whitworth (15-2, 8-0 NWC) broke out to a 35-22 lead over PLU (5-11, 3-4).
“We moved the ball around well — we just missed shots,” Dickerson said.
“Truthfully, I’ve never seen anything like it. We don’t have a great number of shooters. And our shooters right now are in a funk.
“It is a situation the guys will have to figure out.”
At Whitman 69, Puget Sound 51: Guard Jackson Clough poured in a game-high 23 points to lead the Missionaries (12-5, 6-2 NWC) to victory over the Loggers (8-7, 3-4) in Walla Walla.
Whitman scored 19 points off 20 turnovers by UPS, and badly outscored the Loggers on second-chance opportunities (18-1).
Forward Nick Holden led UPS (8-7, 3-4) with 14 points and eight rebounds.
At Whitworth 65, Pacific Lutheran 49: KC McConnell scored 19 points and the Pirates (16-1, 7-1 NWC) pulled away midway through the second half to topple the Lutes (4-12, 1-6) in Spokane.
McConnell’s layup at the 13:34 mark in the second half gave Whitworth its first double-digit lead at 43-33.
Guard Megan Abdo led Pacific Lutheran (4-12, 1-6) with 12 points and Lacey Nicholson added 11 points.
Lexie Zappone and Katara Belton-Sharp added 12 points apiece for the Pirates.
Puget Sound 64, at Whitman 46: Emily Sheldon continued her hot-scoring ways with a season-high 22 points, but the Loggers (14-2, 5-2 NWC) used their defense to shut down the defending NWC champion Missionaries (10-7, 5-3) in Walla Walla.
Katy Ainslie scored 12 points on 6-for-11 shooting and Amanda Forshay scored eight points and hauled in 10 rebounds for UPS.
Whitman shot 27.7 percent from the floor and committed 13 turnovers. Heather Johns scored a team-high 14 points for the Missionaries, but it came on 4-of-19 shooting.
Two Sheldon free throws with 2:48 remaining gave the Loggers their largest lead at 64-44.