Missionary men claw past British Columbia

David Michaels scores 19 points in Whitman's 82-72 victory in Vancouver.

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VANCOUVER, B.C. - Whitman College outscored the University of British Columbia 26-14 over the final 10 minutes to snare an 82-72 men's basketball exhibition victory Thursday night in Vancouver.

The triumph, fueled in part by 19 points, seven steals and five rebounds by senior forward David Michaels, gave Whitman its third victory on day four of a week-long, summer-ending tour of British Columbia.

Whitman also got 17 points from sophomore guard Josh Duckworth and 16 points, six rebounds and six steals from senior guard Brandon Shaw. Junior wings Peter Clark and Ignas Pavilonis each hit three 3-pointers for nine points apiece.

The first 30 minutes of action featured numerous lead changes with five points representing the largest advantage for either side. Whitman led 45-44 at halftime before the Thunderbirds inched in front 58-56 with 10 minutes remaining.

Whitman regained command with a 7-2 spurt that Shaw triggered with a jumper and capped with two free throws. A Michaels three-point play in the paint and Duckworth's jumper off Shaw's assist added to the run.

After UBC closed to within 65-63 with 7:06 left on the clock, Whitman responded with a game-deciding 9-2 flurry. Shaw scored at the hoop, grabbed a defensive rebound and then fed Michaels for a layup to spark the outburst.

With Michaels providing the assist, sophomore guard Jordan Dickson then drilled a 3-pointer for a seven-point Whitman cushion. After UBC misfired at its end, senior D.J. Wright rebounded to start a Missionary possession that ended with Michaels knocking down two free throws.

That gave Whitman a 74-65 advantage with 4:38 left.

The Thunderbirds briefly closed the gap to six points, but sophomore Ryan Gilkey made one of two free throws, Clark nailed a three and Duckworth scored off a turnover to ice the victory.

"It was an absolute war," Whitman coach Eric Bridgeland said. "I'm proud of the guys for having the perseverance to break open a close game at the end, especially since it was our third game in four days."

Whitman harassed the home team into 36 turnovers, collecting 20 steals in the process. In addition to seven thefts from Michaels, Whitman got five steals from Gilkey and three more from Clark.

The game also marked the return of sophomore guard LuQuam Thompson, who is bouncing back from a season-ending injury last October. Thomspon scored two points in 15 minutes on the court.

Doug Plumb, a 6-foot-5 senior, paced UBC with 22 points and eight rebounds. Graham Bath, a 6-foot-5 senior, added 11 points while 6-foot-6 freshman Tommy Nixon was good for 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The Thunderbirds, missing standout guard Nathan Yu to start their preseason slate, lost 108-60 last week to the University of Texas-Arlington, an NCAA Division I team.

"UBC is a perennial top five program in Canada," Bridgeland said. "Their program oozes class and winning. After they dropped a tough decision to Texas-Arlington, we knew we'd get the teeth of that culture tonight."

Whitman concludes its trip with games today at the University of the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) and Saturday at Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo). Both games start at 7 p.m.

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