Loggers withstand late comeback, win 68-62

Loggers withstand late comeback, win 68-62

FOREST GROVE, Ore.—The Puget Sound men's basketball squad withstood a nerve-wracking comeback attempt by Pacific Friday night, holding out for a 68-62 victory over the Boxers in Forest Grove, Ore.

The Loggers hit four of the game's first five shots, taking an 8-3 lead two and a half minutes in. AJ Maw gave the squad an eight-point lead with a layup at 13:47, but Pacific countered with a layup and a three-pointer to pull back within three with just under 10 minutes left in the half.

Three minutes later, the lead remained at three but the Loggers scored six straight points to lead by nine with four minutes remaining. After two free throw shots from Pacific, Puget Sound added three more baskets to take a 13-point advantage. The Boxers' Jordan Batey nailed a three-pointer, but Keith Shattuck countered with a jumper of his own and the two teams headed into the break with the Loggers up 33-23.

The Loggers scored the first point of the second half, a free throw shot by James Osorio. From that point on, their lead held steady between eight and 11 points until the 11:42 mark, when Nick Holden nailed a pair of free throws to give the Loggers a 12-point advantage. They took a few other 12-point leads in the second half, the latest one coming with 6:27 left in regulation after a three-pointer from Erin Barber.

After Barber's three, the Boxers hit two shots to come within seven, but the Loggers stretched their lead to double-digits again and saw an 11-point advantage with 2:46 left thanks to a hustle play near the Logger net. Maw grabbed a loose ball in the paint and hit a layup. On the way up he was fouled by Pacific's Mitch Wettig and earned a free throw shot. Maw drained the freebie, completing the traditional three point play.

At that point the Boxers went on a 9-2 run to come within four, finishing off the stretch with a three-pointer just 28 seconds away from the end of the half. With the score at 64-60 in favor of Puget Sound, the Boxers continued to foul. Barber was on the receiving end of the final two fouls and drained all four shots from the charity stripe in the final 25 seconds, clinching the win for the Loggers.

Holden led all players with 18 points, his second-highest total on the year. He also tallied his fourth double-double of the season and first since Nov. 29 by adding 10 rebounds, leading everyone in that category as well. Three other players scored in double figures, with Barber adding 13 while Maw and Rex Nelson added 11 apiece. Maw also dished out eight assists, a career high and the most by any Logger in the last three seasons.  

As a team, the Loggers shot 48.9% from the floor and 33.3% from the three-point line. They also grabbed 42 rebounds on the night, reaching the 40-plus rebound mark for the first time in four games. Defensively, they held Pacific to a 33.9% clip from the field and 25.0% mark from beyond the arc. They've also kept opponents below a 40.0% figure from the field for the 12th time this season and seventh time in a row. Puget Sound entered today's game ranked 24th in all of Division III by holding opponents to just a 39.0% field goal percentage.

Puget Sound (9-7, 5-2 NWC) continues its four-game road trip with a game at George Fox Saturday, Jan. 25. The Loggers and the Bruins tip off at 8:00 p.m. at Wheeler Sports Center in Newberg, Ore.