Whit men clinch playoff berth

The Missionaries are in the postseason for the first time since 1995 after the 79-58 victory over George Fox Friday.

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WALLA WALLA - Winning a sixth straight game for the second time this season, the Whitman College men's basketball team clinched its first Northwest Conference playoff berth since 1995 with a 79-58 victory over George Fox Friday night in Sherwood Center.

Whitman, which has won 14 of its last 16 games, improved to 16-6 on the season and retained a share of second place in the NWC standings at 9-4.

The loss eliminated George Fox (5-8 in the NWC and 7-15 overall) from playoff consideration with three games left in the regular season.

Whitman never trailed in the game, and apart from a pair of early tie scores, led from start to finish. Up 39-22 at intermission, the Missionaries allowed the Bruins no closer than 13 point in the second half and took their largest lead of the night at 68-44 with just under six minutes left to play.

Freshman Josh Duckworth led a balanced Whitman attack with 16 points. Junior David Michaels just missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Sophomore Ignas Pavilonis hit four of Whitman's nine 3-point baskets in scoring 12 points. Freshman Ryan Gilkey also flirted with a double-double, notching eight points and nine rebounds.

Stephen Wiseley paced George Fox with 16 points and four assists. Rich Smith added 11 points and nine rebounds while Mike Taylor added eight points and 12 boards.

Whitman and Lewis & Clark entered Saturday tied for second place in the NWC. Undefeated Whitworth has already clinched the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Whitman hosted Willamette Saturday. The Bearcats saw their record fall to 6-16 and 3-10 Friday with a loss at Whitworth.

The Missionaries, their sights set on finishing second and securing a first-round home playoff game, finish the regular season with two games next week, starting on Tuesday when Whitworth brings its No. 1 national ranking to town.

Whitman 79, George Fox 58

GEORGE FOX (58) - Whitehurst 0-5 0-0 0, Wiseley 5-13 4-4 16, Taylor 2-14 4-6 8, Smith 5-9 1-8 11, Adrian 1-3 2-2 4, Rier 2-5 2-3 8, Clark 0-2 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Reimer 2-3 0-0 5 , Atkins 2-6 2-3 6, Larson 0-2 0-0 0, Bolte 0-1 0-0 0, Zandbergen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals - 19-64 15-26 58

WHITMAN (79) - Shaw 3-7 2-2 8, Artis 2-9 2-2 7, Michaels 6-10 3-4 15, Clark 2-5 0-0 6, Raher 0-4 5-6 5, Duckworth 7-13 0-0 15, Pavilonis 4-6 0-0 12, Alvarez 0-0 1-2 1, Wright 0-2 1-2 1, Brent 0-0 0-0 0, Gilkey 4-7 0-0 8. Totals - 28-63 14-18.

Halftime - Whitman 39, George Fox 22. 3-point goals - Whitman 9-19 (Pavilonis 4, Duckworth 2, Clark 2, Artis), George Fox 5-20 (Wiseley 2, Rier 2, Reimer). Total fouls - Whitman 19, George Fox 19. Fouled out - Whitman (Gilkey), George Fox (Whitehurst). Technical fouls - George Fox (Smith, Rich). Rebounds - Whitman 48 (Michaels 9), George Fox 39 (Taylor 12). Turnovers - Whitman 14, George Fox 10. Assists - Whitman 12 (Shaw 4), George Fox 7 (Wiseley 4).

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