PORTLAND, Ore.—The Puget Sound men's basketball squad erased a 12-point deficit in the final nine minutes Saturday night, coming back to beat Lewis & Clark 60-56 at the Pamplin Sports Center n Portland, Ore.
The Loggers found themselves down 50-38 with 9:04 remaining in the contest. James Osorio scored four straight points to pull within eight, but the Pioneers took their lead back to 11 with a field goal and layup.
Puget Sound rallied back again, scoring eight straight points in just over two minutes to come within three at 53-50 with 3:35 left in the contest. The Pioneers added two from a pair of free throws, but Rex Nelson countered with a jumper to pull back within three. AJ Maw hit two more free throws to come within one, and then he nailed a layup after a missed Lewis & Clark attempt to give the Loggers a one-point lead with 1:20 left in regulation.
The Pioneers tied the game after a free throw with 1:06 remaining, but Dan Cheledinas the go-ahead three-pointer with 33 seconds left from in front of the Logger bench. The Pioneers saw a deep three attempt rattle off the rim and bounce back towards midcourt with seven seconds remaining. Maw came out of the resulting scramble with the ball and got fouled for his trouble. He hit one of the two free throws, and time ran out on the Pioneers and Puget Sound completed the second-half comeback.
The game was back-and fourth as there were five tie scores and 12 lead changes in the 40 minutes of game play. Lewis & Clark's largest advantage came at 12 points with 9:05 remaining in the game while The Loggers' big lead came with 1:27 remaining in the first when they were up by seven.
To begin the game, Puget Sound took an early 5-4 lead thanks to a three-point play by Nelson. Nelson was fouled while attempting a jumper and netted the shot anyway. He made the resulting free throw attempt to give the Loggers the early advantage.
In the next 42 seconds the lead changed hands three times. The Pioneers found themselves up 8-7 and added another bucket to go up 10-7. The Loggers scored five straight to go up 12-10 with 14:58 remaining, and after a brief Lewis & Clark lead, the Loggers took a 17-13 advantage after a three pointer from Cheledinas and a jumper by Nelson.
After a brief tie score, the Logger re-took a small advantage and hung onto it until the 4:32 mark when a Lewis & Clark steal lead to a bucket and one-point lead for the home side. Puget Sound responded immediately, re-taking the lead on a pair of free throws by Maw and kept it for the rest of the half. The Loggers went into the break up one point at 28-27 after a Pioneer tip-in with one second remaining.
Lewis & Clark came out and re-took the lead in the first three minutes of the second half, grabbing a 32-31 advantage with 17:04 remaining in the period. They extended that lead to 34-31, but the Loggers evened up the contest again thanks to a Nelson layup and a free throw shot by Erin Barber. The hosts again took a four-point lead, and then they followed a layup by Nick Holden with a three-pointer of their own for a five-point advantage with 11:49 remaining in the period. That three-pointer kicked off a 12-2 run which gave the Pioneers their 12-point lead at 50-38.
Nelson led all scorers with 15 points on the night, his highest-scoring game on the four-match road trip. Both Cheledinas and Maw contributed 12 points each on the night, and Holden scored 11. The junior forward tallied his fourth double-double of the year by leading the Loggers with 12 rebounds as well. Cheledinas also hit double-digit boards, grabbing 11 for his first career double-double.
The Loggers won the rebounding contest, grabbing 46 boards as a team as opposed to 34 for the Pioneers. The hosts did out-shoot Puget Sound, however, going 37.0% from the floor and 27.8% from beyond the arc. Puget Sound shot 34.0% and 14.3% from the floor and three-point land respectively, but did make 22 of 30 free throws for a 73.3% clip from the charity stripe. Also, the charge from 12 points down was the Loggers' biggest comeback of the year. They had previously come back from 10 points three times this season.
Puget Sound (11-8, 7-3 NWC) next returns home for a pair of games. They host Whitworth on Friday, Feb. 7 at 8:00 p.m., and then they take on Whitman Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:00 p.m., also at Memorial Fieldhouse. Before the game against the Missionaries Feb. 8, the Logger Club is holding a reception for all former Division III athletes at Memorial Fieldhouse. For more information or to RSVP for the celebration, check out http://www.pugetsound.edu/gateways/alumni/events/.