WALLA WALLA, Wash.—After nailing four straight three-pointers late in the second half, the Puget Sound men's basketball team eliminated a 18-point second half deficit to force overtime Friday night at the Sherwood Center in Walla Walla, Wash. In overtime, however, the host Whitman Missionaries prevailed, winning the contest 94-87.
Whitman scored the game's first eight points, but the Loggers netted six straight of their own in less than a minute and a half to counter. Both offenses took over for the next four minutes as the Missionaries extended to a 23-15 lead with 11:03 left. At that point the visiting Loggers pulled off another run, scoring 11 of the next 14 points to tie the game at 28. AJ Maw scored five of those points, hitting two free throws and then draining a three at the 9:33 mark.
The hosts responded with a large run of their own, scoring 10 unanswered in less than two minutes. The teams then traded buckets for the rest of the half, and Whitman took a 49-40 lead into the break.
In the second half, Whitman extended their advantage to a game-high 18 points with 12:56 remaining, scoring 13 of the period's first 17 points. The Loggers responded with an 11-1 run of their own, coming within eight at 63-55 with 9:23 left in regulation. They eliminated the rest of their deficit with 5:14 left in the second half, coming within one after back-to-back three pointers by James Osorio and Erin Barber. Barber then hit another three two minutes later to even the contest at 75 with 3:13 remaining.
Yet another Barber three-pointer game the visitors a 78-70 lead with 2 and a half minutes left in the game, but Whitman countered with a jumper then a three-pointer. That's all the Missionaries would score in regulation, however. In the final minute, Dan Cheledinas netted two free throws to pull the Loggers within two, and Rex Nelson hit a layup with 29 seconds left, finishing off a pass from Cheledinas. Tied at 82-82, the two teams headed to overtime to decide the issue.
Whitman scored the extra period's first bucket as Josh Duckworth made a jumper 15 seconds in. Maw countered with a layup, but Duckworth hit a layup of his own eight seconds later to give the Missionaries a permanent lead. The Loggers hit three free throws the rest of the way, but the hosts countered with six freebies of their own and another layup to take the game 94-87 in overtime.
Nelson led the Loggers with 24 points and 11 rebounds, tallying his third double-double of the season. Osorio and Barber both hit career-highs with 20 and 17 points, respectively, while Barber also set a career mark with three successful three-pointers, all coming in the second half to help the Loggers come back and tie the game. Maw also scored double-digits, adding 11 points and grabbing a career-high eight rebounds in the loss. For the Missionaries, Matt Mounier scored 19 while four others hit double-digits as well.
As a team, the Loggers outshot the Missionaries 43.3% to 38.9% from the floor and 40.0% to 22.7% from the floor. They also outrebounded Whitman 50-41. The hosts hit 75.0% of their free throws, however, compared to 72.5% for the Loggers, and forced Puget Sound into 23 turnovers while committing seven themselves.
Puget Sound (6-6, 2-1 NWC) will look to get back into the win column Saturday, January 11, with a contest at Whitworth. The Loggers and the Pirates tip off at 8:00 p.m. at Whitworth Fieldhouse in Spokane, Wash.