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McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Cameron Schilling scored 17 points and PLU overcame an early deficit to cruise to a 75-61 Northwest Conference win over host Linfield Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Schilling, an honorable mention all-NWC pick in 2011-12, leads PLU in scoring this year at a clip of 12.6 points per game, and currently ranks third in the conference in rebounds with 7.3.
Brandon Harris led all scorers with 21 points, and Andrew Batiuk recorded his second consecutive double-double with 12 points and 12 boards. But with the defeat, Linfield fell to 1-3 in the NWC and 2-11 overall on the season.
Batiuk and Harris kick-started Linfield’s offense, as back-to-back buckets from the dynamic duo had the ‘Cats out in front 4-0 early. An ensuing layup from Kevin Hurley pushed PLU head coach Steve Dickerson to burn the team’s first timeout just two minutes into the game.
Harris kept his foot on the throttle. The Wildcats’ point guard poured in a 3-pointer and another layup to give him seven points in the first five minutes of play.
PLU (4-9, 2-2 NWC) edged its way back into the game, as a bucket from Kai Hoyt brought the Lutes within one, 16-15. The ‘Cats came out of a timeout strong, scoring four straight points to push back ahead 22-17.
A three from Daniel Landram knotted the score at 22-all, and the sophomore guard gave PLU its first lead with a layup and another three on the next two possessions.
A baseline jumper from Forrest Paxton brought Linfield within three points with less than five minutes to play in the first. The Lutes countered with an 11-2 run that propelled them into the break with a 41-29 lead.
Landram led all scorers in the first with 11 while Harris posted nine points for the Wildcats. Turnovers proved to be costly for Linfield, as the ‘Cats coughed up the ball eight times compared to just once by the Lutes.
The Lutes began to stretch out their lead five minutes into the second, as a three from Cameron Reister pushed the score to 51-36. PLU had an answer each time Linfield attempted to string baskets together, and the ‘Cats failed to make a significant dent in the deficit moving through the middle part of the half.
Dequam Walls hit a 3-point bucket and Harris followed with a layup that brought the ‘Cats within seven. Schilling responded, however, and hit back-to-back threes to extend the score back to 63-50.
Schilling stayed red-hot, hitting two more threes that put the game out of reach with five minutes to play. PLU held onto its double-digit lead through the closing minutes and snapped a four game losing skid.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield has lost six straight at the hands of PLU, dating back to the 2009-10 season…from 1999-2006, Linfield defeated PLU in 14 consecutive contests…the double-double from Batiuk was his fourth of the season.
NEXT UP: Linfield hosts Puget Sound next Friday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. directly following the women’s game. After the matchup with the Loggers, the ‘Cats are away from McMinnville until Feb. 8, when they return to host Pacific.