WALLA WALLA - Call it an old-fashioned barnburner, but the Washington University Bears can call it a win after capitalizing on a pair of turnovers midway through overtime and outlasting Whitman College 68-65 in non-conference men's basketball action Friday night in Sherwood Center.
Washington University (St. Louis) ran its early season record to 2-0 while Whitman came up short in its season opener.
Whitman led 59-58 and had possession with less than three minutes left in overtime, but back-to-back Missionary turnovers led to a pair of layups and a 62-59 lead for the visitors.
Whitman twice closed the gap to one point, first when senior David Michaels worked his way inside for a bucket and again when senior Brandon Shaw sank two free throws with 1:15 left on the clock.
But freshman Brayden Teuscher, who came off the Washington bench to score 15 points, beat the shot clock with a short baseline jumper to give the Bears a 66-63 cushion with 42 seconds remaining.
After the Missionaries misfired on their next possession, Teuscher was fouled and knocked down both free throws with 12 seconds left, extending the lead to 68-63.
Whitman wasn't quite done, however, getting two free throws from sophomore Josh Duckworth with seven ticks left on the clock to make it a one-possession game.
Duckworth then swiped the in-bounds pass and got the ball to junior Peter Clark, who had a shot at a game-tying three in the waning seconds. His shot from well beyond the top of the key drew iron but failed to drop.
Chris Klimek paced the Bears with 16 points and eight rebounds. Dylan Richter added 12 points and five boards while Tim Cooney was good for eight rebounds and six points. Ben Hoener had seven points and five assists.
Shaw tallied a game-high 18 points to lead four Missionaries into double-digit scoring. Michaels and Duckworth both finished with 13 points.
Sophomore LuQuam Thompson chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds. Junior Drew Raher also grabbed five boards and nailed two huge 3-pointers to help Whitman rally late in the second half. Senior D.J. Wright picked off a team-high six rebounds for Whitman.
Whitman sputtered through the first half, trailed 29-17 at the break and then fell behind by as many as 11 points halfway through the second stanza. The Missionaries continued to peck away, drawing within 44-40 when Raher lofted home a 3-pointer with 7:36 left to play.
After the Bears stretched their lead back to 48-40, Whitman unleashed a 15-8 run down the stretch to cut its deficit to a single point, 56-55, with two minutes left. Both Raher and Duckworth drilled 3-pointers to spark the surge.
Neither side scored again until the final seconds of regulation when Shaw was fouled as he rolled down the left side of the key for a layin that trickled off the rim. He made one of his two free throws to send the game to overtime.
Michaels made three of four free throws early in overtime, offsetting a Cooney basket, to give Whitman its last lead of the night at 59-58.
After Washington shot 48 percent from the floor (12-25) in building its first-half lead, Whitman hit 48.1 percent (13-27) of its field goal attempts in the second half to catch back up.
The Bears were five of six from the floor, and two for two from the free throw line, in overtime to seal their win.
Neither side shot well from the 3-point line. Washington was three of 16 while Whitman was three of 19.
The Bears, under long-time coach Mark Edwards, are in pursuit of a 28th-consecutive winning season. Washington, which plays in the University Athletic Association, won back-to-back NCAA DIII national titles in 2008 and 2009.
Whitman and Washington last met in November of 2001 when Whitman traveled to St. Louis and dropped a 77-60 decision to the Bears on their home floor.
Whitman returns to Sherwood Center at 8 p.m. Saturday to face UC-Santa Cruz, an NCAA Division III independent. The Banana Slugs are 0-2 to start their season after losing Thursday night at Whitworth and earlier in the week to NCAA DI UC-Davis
Washington heads to Spokane for a 3 p.m. Sunday game against Whitworth.
Washington University 68, Whitman 65
WASHINGTON (68) - Cooney 3-9 0-0 6, Hoener 3-6 0-1 7, Richter 6-17 0-0 12, Klimek 7-11 2-5 16, Toth 1-2 0-0 2, Bischoff 0-1 0-0 0, Aboona 0-0 0-0 0, Teuscher 4-6 5-6 15, Palucki 0-3 4-4 4, Burnett 2-2 2-3 6.
WHITMAN (65) - Shaw 6-11 6-9 18, Michaels 4-13 5-7 13, Thompson 4-8 3-3 11, Clark 0-8 0-0 0, Raher 2-4 0-0 6 Dickson 0-1 0-0 0, Duckworth 3-8 6-8 13, Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Gilkey 2-3 0-1 4.
Half-time score - Washington 29, Whitman 17. 3-point goals - Wash 3 (Teuscher 2, Hoener), Whit 3 (Raher 2, Duckworth). Total fouls - Wash 27, Whit 17. Fouled out - Wash (Klimek, Toth), Whit (Gilkey). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Wash 39 (Cooney 8, Klimek 8), Whit 37 (Wright 6). Turnovers - Wash 15, Whit 13. Assists - Wash 12 (Hoener 5), Whit 6 (Shaw 2).