Puget Sound falls to Whitworth in defensive struggle

Puget Sound falls to Whitworth in defensive struggle

SPOKANE, Wash.—The Puget Sound men's basketball team saw a tough Whitworth defense Saturday night, falling to the host Pirates 60-49 at Whitworth Fieldhouse in Spokane, Wash. Both defenses were firing on all cylinders in the contest as they both forced at least 15 turnovers and tallied at least seven steals.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair as there were four tie scores and nine lead changes in the first 20 minutes alone. The Loggers claimed their first lead of the game eight and a half minutes in when Erin Barber netted a jumper, putting the visitors up 11-9. Whitworth responded with a three-pointer, but James Osorio scored a bucket on the very next play to retake the advantage for Puget Sound. After another lead change via a Whitworth layup, JJ Pavia netted two consecutive jump shots to give the Loggers a 17-14 lead, their largest of the night, with 6:41 remaining before halftime.

After Pavia's jumpers, Whitworth netted the next seven points, taking a lead that would last through the first half. Dan Cheledinas stopped the run with a successful free throw, but the Pirates scored nine of the period's final 12 points to head into the locker room up 30-21.

Through the first 9:42 of the second half, the Whitworth advantage hovered around six points. Matt Bender nailed a three-pointer and Osorio netted two free throws to bring the Loggers within one, however, with 9:29 remaining in regulation.

Two possessions later, Whitworth scored a layup, but Nick Holden brought the Loggers within one again with a successful jumper at the 8:06 mark. The visitors from Tacoma could come no closer, though, as Whitworth scored the next nine points to retake an 11-point advantage with 5:07 remaining. The Loggers could not close that gap once more, and they ended up falling 60-49 to the Pirates.

Osorio led the Loggers with 10 points on the night, and both Barber and Pavia grabbed six rebounds. Colton McCarger of Whitworth led all scorers with 16 while Taylor Farnsworth hauled in seven rebounds.

Both teams had trouble finding their stroke Saturday night as Whitworth shot 35.8% from the field while the Loggers hit 32.7% of their field goals. From three-point range the Pirates went 5-16 for a 31.2% mark and the Loggers connected on just three of 17 shots from beyond the arc, a 17.6% average. Puget Sound did, however, have a mark of 83.3% from the charity stripe, but they only attempted 12 free throws, making 10 of them.

Puget Sound (6-7, 2-2 NWC) now hopes that some home cooking does the squad good on Tuesday, January 14, as they take on cross-town rival Pacific Lutheran. That contest will tip off at 8:00 p.m. at Memorial Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Puget Sound.