TACOMA - In a battle between two teams with wins in 11 of their last 13 games, it was Whitman College that stayed hot here Friday night with a 69-57 men's Northwest Conference basketball victory over Pacific Lutheran.
Avenging a four-point loss to Pacific Lutheran last month in Walla Walla, Whitman pulled into a third-place tie with the Lutes in the conference standings. Both teams headed to Saturday games with 7-4 conference records.
Whitman, 14-6 on the season following Friday's win, took the lead for good midway through the first half, was up 35-28 at intermission and led by no fewer than nine points over the final 13 minutes of play. Junior Brandon Shaw paced a balanced Whitman attack with 16 points and four assists. Freshman Josh Duckworth made six of eight shots from the floor, adding 15 points and five steals.
Sophomore Ignas Pavilonis hit three times from the 3-point stripe in scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Junior David Michaels broke double-digits with 10 points while sophomore Peter Clark collected his nine points on a trio of 3-point strikes.
As a team, Whitman shot an even 50 percent from the floor (27-54) and outrebounded the Lutes 32-26. The Missionaries also forced 18 Pacific Lutheran turnovers.
Pacific Lutheran, dropping to 12-7 on the season, had just one player score in double figures. Kyle MacTaggart had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Lutes.
Up by seven points at halftime, Whitman stretched its lead to 40-30 early in the second half on a Duckworth three-point play in the paint.
After the Lutes closed to within 42-37, a bucket by Duckworth and two scores by Michaels set the stage for Clark, who drilled one of his 3s for a 51-39 Whitman lead with 12 minutes left.
Another Missionary 3-point bomb, this one from Pavilonis, had Whitman in front 56-44 at the 10-minute mark. The Lutes drew no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
In the first half, two 3s by Pavilonis and one from Clark helped erase an early Pacific Lutheran lead, staking the Missionaries to a 20-16 advantage. The Lutes forged a final tie at 21-21 before Whitman ended the half on a 14-7 run.
In beating Pacific Lutheran for their 14th win of the season, the Missionaries moved past the 1998-99 Whitman team for the most single-season victories in more than two decades. The 1998-99 team finished its season with a 13-12 record.
With five games left on its regular season slate, and a shot at one of four conference playoff berths, Whitman still has a chance at matching or exceeding the victory total posted by the 1988-89 Missionaries. That team was 18-10.
Whitman stayed in Tacoma on Saturday for an 8 p.m. game against Puget Sound.
Meanwhile, Pacific Lutheran welcomed unbeaten Whitworth to town on Saturday.
Whitman 69, Pacific Lutheran 57
WHITMAN (69) - Shaw 6-11 4-6 16, Dickson 0-0 0-0 0, Duckworth 6-8 2-4 15, Pavilonis 5-10 0-0 13m Artis 0-4 0-0 0, Michaels 4-9 2-4 10, Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 3-6 0-0 9, Raher 1-4 0-0 2, Gilkey 2-2 0-0 4. Totals - 27-54 8-14 69
PACIFIC LUTHERAN (57) - Schilling 2-5 3-4 7, Bull 2-7 0-0 4, Polls 3-4 0-0 9, Earnest 2-4 2-2 7, MacTaggart 4-8 7-8 16, Conti 2-6 0-0 4, Tveter 0-1 0-0 0, Klein 0-0 0-0 0, Hoyt 1-3 0-0 2, Reister 0-1 0-0 0, Isaksen 0-0 0-0 0, Trondsen 3-6 0-0 8, Podowicz 0-1 0-0 0. Totals - 19-46 12-14 57
Halftime score - Whitman 35, Pacific Lutheran 28. 3-point goals - Whitman 7 (Pavilonis 3, Clark 3, Duckworth), Pacific Lutheran 7 (Polis 3, Earnest, MacTaggart, Trondsen 2). Total Fouls - Pacific Lutheran 13, Whitman 12. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Whitman 32 (Pavilonis 7), Pacific Lutheran 26 (MacTaggart 7). Turnovers - Pacific Lutheran 18, Whitman 12. Assists - Pacific Lutheran 15 (Conti 3), Whitman 9 (Shaw 4).