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McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Andrew Batiuk poured in 28 points and Brandon Harris totaled 18 more to lift the Linfield Wildcats to an exciting 82-72 overtime victory over visiting Northwest Christian Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Trevor Parker had a career-high 24 points for Northwest Christian, which fell to 7-7 for the season with the loss.
Tim Logan joined Batiuk and Harris as Linfield’s double-digit scorers, helping Linfield improve to 2-5.
The Beacons benefitted from 14 points from Travis Pacos and 10 from Brody McGowan. Jordan Buhler scored 10 points to go with a team-high six rebounds.
Scoring immediately after winning the tip, the ‘Cats surrendered the next six points to the Beacons.
Batiuk got on the board early with six points in the first four minutes of the game.
The Beacons scored steadily through the middle part of the first period to establish a six-point edge nine minutes into the game.
A layup by Batiuk with seven minutes remaining cut the Linfield deficit to 20-16 and kept the ‘Cats within striking distance just before the break.
The Beacons regained confidence after a three-pointer from Parker upped the spread to eight points with just under five minutes remaining.
Harris came alive in the closing minutes of the first, knocking down a three and adding a layup to bring the ‘Cats to within four with a minute left before intermission. A jumper from Parker in the closing seconds brought the halftime score to 35-31.
Parker led all first-half scorers with 17 points and Wyatt Taboh-Graziano hauled in four rebounds for the Beacons. Batiuk contributed 15 points while pacing the ‘Cats with four rebounds. NCU shot just under 50 percent from the field to Linfield’s 42 during the game’s opening 20 minutes.
A three-pointer from Harris followed by a layup from Kevin Hurley kept the ‘Cats close and pushed the score to 40-36 early in the second.
After a rebound from Cory Hendryx, Matt Kalbfleisch gave Linfield its first lead since the opening minute with a close-range shot.
With 1:30 remaining, Harris finished a close layup to bring the ‘Cats within one, 67-66.
In the process of holding for the final shot, miscommunication caused a sloppy pass and the ‘Cats lost possession with 14 seconds remaining.
Linfield forced a turnover of its own on the inbounds pass and a foul put Tim Pang at the line with eight seconds remaining. The sophomore made his first shot, which knotted the score at 69.
Linfield took control in the opening minutes of overtime. A three-point-play by Batiuk gave the ‘Cats a 76-70 lead and the hosts never looked back from there, closing out the game by maintaining possession.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The all-time series between the ‘Cats and the Beacons sits at 6-2 in favor of NCU…the two teams played for the first time in the 1981-82 season, when the Linfield won 92-74…Batiuk has scored in double-digits in every game this season while Harris has enjoyed four such contests.
AHEAD: Linfield wraps up a seven-game homestand with a winter-break matchup against Montana State-Northern. The ‘Cats and the Lights tip off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, in Ted Wilson Gymnasium