COLLEGE BASKETBALL - EOU finally breaks away from Whitman

The Missionaries enjoy double-digit leads, but Eastern Oregon takes the 99-92 Classic victory.

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WALLA WALLA - Travares Peterson drilled a 3-point shot from the left baseline with 4:05 to go that broke a 77-all tie and gave visiting Eastern Oregon the lead for good in a 99-92 men's basketball victory over Whitman in the opening session of the annual Walla Walla Vineyard Inn Classic Friday night on George Ball Court at Sherwood Center.

"I thought we had a shot. They're really good," Whitman coach Eric Bridgeland said of EOU, which raised its record to 7-1 with the triumph. "I knew it was going to be a war. They're well coached and have all the pieces."

In earlier action on Friday, Northwest edged Pacific Lutheran, 75-74, on a pair of Stedman Richardson free throws with .5 seconds remaining.

The Classic wrapped up Saturday night with EOU opposing PLU and Whitman facing Northwest.

Whitman and the Mountaineers fought to early ties at 11, 14, and 17 on Friday night before the Missionaries assumed and equaled leads of seven, eight, 10 and 12 points late in the first half.

Ignas Pavilonis came off the bench to give Whitman a 44-32 lead with a layin at the 3:16 mark, the re-established a 12 point spread, 46-34, on a pair of free throws with 1:59 on the clock.

Eastern Oregon closed out the half with a 7-4 spurt to pull to within nine, 50-41, at intermission.

The Missionaries had nine players score at least three points in half one, led by the eight apiece of Brandon Shaw and Justin Artis.

"Whitman has a great team," EOU coach Isaac Williams said. "Eric does a great job.

"We came out (lax)," Williams said. "It was a matter of our guys playing with a greater sense of urgency."

In the second half, EOU used a 9-0 run to close the gap to two, 54-52. Two Jeff Ranstrom free throws with 15:50 left made it a two-point margin.

Whitman was able to maintain the upper hand for the next several minutes.

But a J.C. Cook charity toss at the 9:57 mark tied the score at 60-60.

A Peterson follow with 9:46 remaining gave Eastern Oregon its first lead, 62-60.

The next five minutes and change featured four lead changes and three ties. Whitman's Peter Clark tied the game at 77 on a putback with 4:33 to go.

Peterson's 3 less than a half-minute later became part of a five-point play. Teammate Cody Thurmond was fouled on the sequence, and sank two freebies to put the Mountaineers in front, 82-77.

EOU increased its lead to as much as nine on two occasions.

"They run good stuff," Bridgeland said. "They have good players at every position."

"We had to be tough," Williams said. "Our guys showed a lot of toughness and gritted it out."

Whitman twice drew to within three in the final minute - 90-87 and 92-89 - but were unable to complete the comeback.

The Mountaineers outrebounded Whitman 51-49, including a 29-21 edge in the second half.

"That's where the game was decided," Bridgeland said.

Each team had six players score in double figures. Shaw led all scorers with 21 points while Jamar Johnson led Eastern Oregon with 18.

Eastern Oregon 99, Whitman 92

EOU (99) - Thurmond 5-6 4-4 14, McCarthy 3-16 4-4 10, Peterson 6-12 1-2 15, Johnson 6-12 2-2 18, Mumm 6-9 1-3 13, Cottle 1-1 1-3 4, Cook 4-10 4-6 14, Wood 2-4 0-0 4, Ranstrom 1-7 5-6 7. Totals 34-77 22-30 99.

WHITMAN (92) - Shaw 3-14 15-18 21, Artis 4-10 7-9 16, Clark 3-6 2-2 10, Raher 1-4 2-2 4, Gilkey 2-6 6-6 10, Dickson 0-3 0-0 0, Duckworth 4-9 3-5 11, Pavilonis 4-8 2-2 11, Michaels 2-3 2-3 6, Alvarez 1-1 1-1 3, Guisness 0-0 0-0 0, Brent 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-65 40-48 92.

Halftime score - Whitman 50, EOU 41. 3-point goals - EOU 9-25 (Johnson 4-9, Peterson 2-2, Cook 2-5, Cottle 1-1, Mumm 0-1, Ranstrom 0-1, McCarthy 0-6), Whitman 4-23 (Clark 2-4, Artins 1-3, Pavilonis 1-5, Raher 0-1, Gilkey 0-1, Brent 0-1, Duckworth 0-2, Shaw 0-3, Dickson 0-3). Total fouls-EOU 32, Whitman 22. Fouled out- EOU (Thurmond, Mumm). Technical fouls-none. Rebounds- EOU 51 (Johnson 8), Whitman 49 (Gilkey 8). Turnovers-EOU 14, Whitman 10. Assists- EOU 18 (Thurmond 5), Whitman 8 (Shaw 4).

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