TACOMA, Wash.—The Puget Sound men's basketball squad saved its best basketball for the final two minutes Wednesday, holding Pacific Lutheran without a field goal in the last 2:20 of the game and prevailing 77-70 in the intercity rivalry contest at Memorial Fieldhouse in Tacoma.
Both teams took a while to warm up as neither hit a field goal for the game's first five-plus minutes. After finding their stroke first the Lutes got off to an 11-2 lead, but Keith Shattuck offered a preview of the rest of the half by draining a three pointer at the 12:13 mark to halt the Pacific Lutheran run. After Pacific Lutheran took a 10-point lead two minutes later, Shattuck took over, scoring eight of the Loggers' next 11 points to pull the hosts within three. He scored 13 points in the half to help the Loggers keep pace with the visiting Lutes.
Over the next six minutes, the teams swapped buckets, but the Loggers chipped away at the Lute advantage, taking the lead with 2:45 left in the half on a pair of free throws by Nick Holden. PLU re-took the lead off a layup and a pair of free throw shots, but consecutive field goals by Dan Cheledinas and Rex Nelson put the Loggers back on top with 31 seconds left in the period. The Lutes tied it at 35 with a free throw by Terrell Williams, however, and the squads went into the break deadlocked.
AJ Maw kicked off scoring in the second half, draining a three-pointer 1: 28 into the period. The Loggers held on to their newly-reclaimed lead for 3:04, seeing PLU take it back with a three-pointer by Arvid Isaksen.
The Loggers tied it back up with 13:27 left in the half with a jumper from Maw in the paint, drawing the game even at 47. The visitors took three more leads n the next six and a half minutes, but the Loggers drew even every time. They took a lead for themselves with 7:03 remaining after Cheledinas drained a three-pointer, his first of the contest.
That lead did not hold, however, as the Lutes eliminated that advantage in the next 1:29. After that point, with 5:17 left in the half, there were four tie scores and three lead changes. Finally, with 1:54 remaining in the game, Cheledinas gave the Loggers a permanent lead, netting a layup while being fouled in the process. He hit the resulting free-throw for a 73-70 lead, and the Loggers added four more from the charity stripe in the final minute and a half while holding the Lutes scoreless for the final 2:20 of the game to hold on for the win.
"I thought our guys did a great job of persevering and trusting each other defensively," said Logger head coach Justin Lunt. "Offensively we really executed towards the end. We had some players make some plays, knock down some free throws, and that's it right there."
The Loggers saw five players score in double digits, with Maw leading the way with 15 points. Barber, Nelson, and Shattuck all added 13 for the victors, and Cheledinas scored 12, 10 of those coming in the second half. Cheledinas paced the Loggers in rebounding, grabbing eight boards on the night, his second-best rebounding night of the season. He and Barber also shot 100% from the free throw line as Cheledinas hit all five of his freebie attempts, and Barber went 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. Daniel Landram led Pacific Lutheran with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Puget Sound also outshot the Lutes in every category. The hosts went 46.8% from the field, and 47.1% from beyond the arc. They also hit 80.6% of their free throws, eclipsing 80% for the third time in their last five games. The Lutes, meanwhile, went 34.9% from the floor and 23.8% from three point range while hitting 77.8% of their free throw attempts.
The Loggers (7-7. 3-2 NWC) will have a day to recover from the rivalry game. They host Willamette Friday, Jan. 17, at 8:00 p.m., again at Memorial Fieldhouse.