Tochi Oti keeps his eye on the bucket as he drives through the lane during the first half against Santa Clara Thursday night. The Missionaries won the game 95-53, as Oti scored 17 points.
WALLA WALLA — University of California Santa-Cruz played Whitman College even — until the opening tipoff, that is — as the Missionaries rolled to a 95-53 victory over the Slugs Thursday night at George Ball Court.
Missionary forward Matt Mounier set the tone early, sinking a 3-pointer, then stealing the ball on the Slugs’ next possession for an easy layup to put Whitman up, 5-0.
Mounier didn’t miss a shot of any kind in the first half; he was 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the stripe.
As a team, the Missionaries shot 61.5 percent from the field in the first half.
Mounier led the team with 22 points
The Slugs, meanwhile, were held scoreless until forward James Townsend was able to penetrate Whitman’s aggressive defense three and a half minutes into the game. The Slugs turned the ball over 17 times in the first half alone.
Whitman’s biggest lead over Santa Cruz was 28 points, and the Missionaries took a commanding 49-22 lead into the locker room.
After halftime, the Slugs matched the Missionaries field goal-for-field goal for the first few minutes.
But Whitman’s smothering defense was too much for Santa Cruz.
Every one of the Missionaries saw playing time, and 12of 15 players scored.
Mounier paced the Missionaries, shooting 8-for-11 from the field for 22 points.
Guard Tochi Oti chipped in 17 points and was 6-for-9 from the field.
Evan Martin was third in scoring with 12 points. Martin had one block on the night, but it was a big one, as enthusiastic Whitman fans cheered as he rejected a shot into the stands.
Santa Cruz moves to 2-5 on the season.
Whitman’s third win in a row puts them at 3-3.
For further statistics were available.
The Missionaries next host Southwestern University at 8 p.m. Dec. 14.