"The System" leads to record-setting year, playoff appearance

Photo by Dan McCormack
Photo by Dan McCormack

TACOMA, Washington – Head coach Justin Lunt implemented a new system for the 2017-18 Puget Sound men's basketball season, and it resulted in several school records and a trip to the Northwest Conference Tournament.

The Loggers' new fast-paced style of play surprised and overwhelmed the opposition. Puget Sound opened the season with six consecutive wins, including an upset win at No. 15 Claremont-M-S, 87-74 (Nov. 25).

Puget Sound (18-7, 11-5 NWC) kept its foot on the gas when it opened its Northwest Conference schedule, as the Loggers nearly beat the No. 1 ranked team in NCAA D-III at home. Puget Sound held a 108-106 lead with less than one minute to play against No. 1 Whitman, but the Blues came back for a 111-108 victory (Dec. 2).

Despite the loss, keeping pace with the No. 1 team in the country gave the Loggers the confidence they needed for the rest of the season. Puget Sound put together a four-game winning streak in early January, and the Maroon & White ended the regular season with six consecutive wins.

The Loggers' late-season winning streak vaulted them into the NWC Tournament as the No. 3 seed. Puget Sound lost at Whitworth, 97-79.

Puget Sound's exciting style was featured in both the Tacoma News Tribune and the Portland Tribune

Junior Jimmy Wohrer was named the All-NWC First Team after shattering the Loggers' single-season 3-point record. Wohrer knocked down 104 treys during the 2017-18 season. The previous record was 83 3-pointers in a season, held by both Curtis Mudved and Taylor Marsh. Wohrer also finished the season the season as the league's leading scorer with 22.2 points per game.

On a national level, Wohrer's 4.16 3-pointers game ranked fourth in all of NCAA D-III. In addition to his NWC nod, Wohrer was named to the D3hoops.com All-West Region Team. As a team, Puget Sound ranked seventh nationally in points per game (95.6), fourth in steals per game (14.0), third in offensive rebounds per game (16.76), and eighth in 3-pointers made per game (12.0).

Senior Easton Driessen was named an All-Northwest Conference Honorable Mention. He earned a penchent for making clutch plays on both ends of the floor. One of Driessen's most memorable plays this year was when he hit the go-ahead 3-pointer - with a hand in his face and six seconds on the clock – to beat George Fox, 101-100, in Memorial Fieldhouse (Feb. 3).

In addition to graduating Driessen, the Loggers will graduate starting big man Jeremiah Hobbs. The Seattle native ranked second in the NWC for blocks per game (1.7), and his 5.8 boards tied for seventh in the league.

Sophomore Stellan Roberts and freshman Zion Shepherd led a strong core of Puget Sound's youth. Roberts reached double-digits in scoring 14 times, including back-to-back 19-point games against Whitman (Jan. 26) and Whitworth (Jan. 27).

Shepherd had seven games with at least 10 points, to go along with seven games with at least eight rebounds. Shepherd also averaged 1.1 blocks per game, including four blocks in a game against Willamette (Feb. 2).

 

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