SALEM, Ore. - Brandon Shaw combined 16 points with eight rebounds and six assists, and Justin Artis nailed a critical 3-pointer late in the game, as Whitman College held off Willamette for a 74-69 Northwest Conference men's basketball victory here Friday night.
Whitman, improving to 9-5 on the season and 2-3 in the NWC, saw Willamette misfire on two 3-point attempts in the closing seconds that would have tied the game.
Drew Raher rebounded the second miss with one second remaining and was fouled. He made both free throws at the other end to complete the scoring and ice the victory.
The loss dropped Willamette is 1-4 and 4-10.
Whitman led by as many as 13 points in the first half and was up 37-32 at intermission. David Michaels, saddled with foul trouble for much of the game, scored the first bucket of the second half, but the Bearcats stayed within reach the rest of the way.
Artis, a senior guard who knocked down three 3-pointers on the night, made one from long distance with just under four minutes left in the game for a 65-59 Whitman lead.
Shaw's two free throws had the Missionaries in front 67-61 at the 4:19 mark, and freshman Ryan Gilkey connected twice more from stripe to give Whitman a 69-62 advantage with three minutes remaining.
After the Bearcats drew within three points, Artis took a pass from freshman Josh Duckworth and struck again from the 3-point line with 1:12 on the clock to give Whitman some breathing room at 72-66.
Willamette answered back with a 3 of its own, and when Whitman failed to score on its next possession, the Bearcats got two looks at game-tying 3-pointers inside the final eight seconds.
Artis finished with 12 points while Raher also connected three times from the 3-point arc en route to 11 points.
Sophomore Peter Clark added nine points and picked off a career-high five steals. Ignas Pavilonis, also a sophomore, had eight points and six rebounds.
Duckworth handed out four assists to go with six points, and Gilkey finished with six points, four rebounds and two steals.
Willamette held its only lead of the night at 2-1 in the first minute of play, but Clark and Raher drained 3-pointers as Whitman moved in front to stay.
Three-point strikes by Raher, Pavilonis and Artis fueled a surge that gave the Missionaries their biggest lead of the night at 22-9 with 10:01 left in the opening half.
Duckworth's layup with six minutes left kept Whitman's advantage in double digits at 32-21. Artis made a free throw with 3:38 remaining for a 35-25 lead, but the Bearcats narrowed the gap to five by the break.
Whitman stayed in Western Oregon on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game against George Fox in Newberg.
Whitman 74, Willamette 69
WHITMAN (74) - Shaw 3-11 9-11 16, Artis 3-6 3-4 12, Michaels 1-3 1-4 3, Clark 3-9 2-2 9, Raher 3-9 2-2 11, Dickson 1-1 0-0 3, Duckworth 3-8 0-0 6, Pavilonis 3-10 0-0 8, Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Gilkey 2-3 2-4 6. Totals 22-60 18-28 74.
WILLAMETTE (69) - Dart 7-8 1-2 15, Malley 5-16 3-4 15, Kunke 2-3 2-2 7, Meehan 3-11 0-1 6, Mounts 6-15 8-11 20, Manu 0-0 0-0 0, Pastorino 1-2 0-0 2, Hughes 1-2 0-0 3, Hansen 0-1 0-0 0, Bos 1-3 0-0 2, Lowe 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 14-20 69.
Halftime - Whit 37, Will 32. 3-point goals - Whit 12-30 (Shaw 1-3, Artis 3-5, Clark 2-7, Raher 3-6, Dickson 1-1, Pavilonis 2-8), Will 3-23 (Malley 2-10, Meehan 0-6, Mounts 0-3, Hughes 1-1, Hansen 0-1, Bos 0-2). Total fouls - Whit 18, Will 23. Fouled out - Whit (Michaels). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Whit 40 (Shaw 8), Will 41 (Mounts 12). Turnovers - Whit 17, Will 18. Assists - Whit 15 (Shaw 6), Will 11 (Kunke 6).