MEN'S BASKETBALL - Wolves men open road trip with victory Thursday

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LANCASTER, Calif. - The Walla Walla University Wolves found Southern California sunshine to their liking here Thursday as they opened a three-game men's basketball road trip by posting their first victory of the season.

The Wolves squandered a six-point halftime lead by falling behind by six points with about five minutes to play, staged a rally of their own and then held on for a 65-63 victory over West Coast Baptist College. The sweet victory came after 17 consecutive losses to begin the season.

"We're on a little bit of a winning streak," said WWU coach Gerry Larson, who hopes to keep it going with two more warm-climate games before heading back to the wintery Pacific Northwest.

"This was definitely not the best team we've played, but they were definitely a good team," Larson said of the Eagles. "We really came to play, and we earned it. We responded to the things that we've been working on in practice.

"The team has made a commitment to improve on what we're doing, and we've gotten better."

Tristan Greenidge, who led the Wolves with 14 points, sank a key 3-point basket late in the game to spark the Wolves' comeback. His shot cut the Eagles' lead to a single point, and he drew a foul on the play but missed the free-throw opportunity.

But with Greenidge and Andrew Bailey, who tallied 11 points, coming up big down the stretch, Walla Walla mounted a 64-60 lead with about a minute remaining in the game.

An Eagles 3-pointer made it a one-point game again, and the Wolves regained a two-point edge when it halved a two-shot free-throw chance with three seconds on the clock.

"They had one chance left," Larson said of the Eagles. "And they put up a long 3-point shot that went in the rim and then back out again. That shot would have won it for them."

Jordan Stimmel was a third WWU player in double figures with 10 points.

Akeem Smith led the home team with a game-high 18 points and Colton Cochrane and T.J Tibbs finished with 14 points each.

The Wolves were guilty of 22 turnovers, 10 more than their hosts, but they outrebounded West Coast Baptist 50-40. Greenidge had 12 rebounds for Walla Walla and Tibbs collected 10 for WCB.

WWU 65, West Coast Baptist 63

WALLA WALLA (65) - Lewis 2-6 0-0 6, Abdul-karim 0-1 0-0 0, Doherty 2-5 0-0 5, Henderson 4-12 3-6 14, Marshall 0-0 0-0 0, Stimmel 4-8 2-2 10, Greenidge 6-14 0-1 14, Creasey 2-3 0-0 5, Bailey 4-10 3-4 11, Jacobsen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 8-13 65.

WEST COAST BAPTIST (63) - Sisson 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 5-12 4-6 18, Molencupp 0-1 0-0 0, Chappell 0-0 0-0 0, Cochrane 4-10 4-6 14, Johnson 3-10 2-2 9, Bro 2-17 0-0 5, Tibbs 6-13 2-4 14, Osborn 1-5 0-0 3, Cripps 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-68 12-18 63.

Halftime - WWU 30, WCB 24. 3-point goals - WWU 9-21 (Lewis 2-4, Doherty 1-2, Henderson 3-7, Greenidge 2-5, Creasey 1-1, Bailey 0-1), WCB 9-32 (Smith 4-8, Mulencupp 0-1, Cochrane 2-4, Johnon 1-4, Bro 1-10, Osborn 1-5). Total fouls - WWU 17, WCB 16. Fouled out - WCB (Cochran). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - WWU 50 (Greenidge 12), WCB 40 (Tibbs 10). Turnovers - WWU 22, WCB 12. Assists - WWU 15 (Henderson 6), WCB 12 (Smith 4).

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