WALLA WALLA - Whitman College knocked off Pennsylvania's Immaculata University 62-56 Monday evening in the Cactus Jam men's basketball tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.
Whitman, winning its third straight game, climbed above the .500 mark for the season, improving to 5-4.
Immaculata, is in the NCAA Division III Colonial States Athletic Conference, slipped to 2-6.
Sophomore Peter Clark hit five 3-pointers and paced a balanced Whitman attack with 16 points. Ignas Pavilonis, also a sophomore, connected three times from beyond the arc and added 11 points.
Drew Raher, a third sophomore, made four of five shots from the floor to finish with nine points. Junior Brandon Shaw and freshman Josh Duckworth chipped in with eight points apiece, combining to can seven of 14 field goal tries.
Whitman jumped in front at the outset, scoring the game's first 10 points. Raher triggered the run with a jumper and added a three off a Shaw assist.
After senior Justin Artis fed Clark for his first 3-pointer, a Pavilonis steal led to a layup by junior David Michaels. That gave the Missionaries a 10-0 bulge with 17:25 still left on the first-half clock.
Duckworth's layup at the 12:58 mark gave Whitman a 16-4 lead, but the Mighty Macs came charging back to take a 26-24 lead with 5:33 left. The Missionaries regained command, closing out the half on a 12-0 run to lead 36-26 at the break. Pavilonis fueled the late first-half run with five points.
Three-pointers by Clark and Pavilonis, both assisted by Artis, kept the Missionaries safely in front down the stretch.
Whitman shot 51.7 percent (15-for-29) from the floor in building its first-half lead. The Missionaries also took good care of the ball, committing just six turnovers while forcing the Mighty Macs into 15.
Whitman plays a second game at the Cactus Jam tourney when it battles Iowa's Simpson College at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The tournament is taking place at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.
Whitman plays its final game of 2010 when it visits California's University of Redlands for a 5 p.m. game on Thursday.
The Missionaries resume Northwest Conference play when they host Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran on Jan. 7-8.