McMINNVILLE, Ore. – A three-minute lull at the end of the first half negated a decent start by the Linfield Wildcats, who dropped a 70-57 Northwest Conference outing Sunday night to the Lewis & Clark Pioneers on the Ted Wilson Gymnasium hardwood.
Linfield's Ryan Potter (So., Molalla, Ore.) and Adam Myren each totaled 13 points in a losing effort. Ryan Cali (Sr., San Jose, Calif.) had nine points along with five assists, and Mason Rodby (So., Redmond, Ore.) chipped in with nine points and three rebounds.
The Wildcats found themselves trailing by a dozen points at the intermission, yet played the Pioneers nearly even on the scoreboard in the second half, 31-30, claiming at least a moral victory against a quality conference opponent.
Three-point baskets in the first half by Jackson Gion and Potter helped Linfield take early command, forging leads of 7-3 and 12-6. Midway through the period, Lewis & Clark launched a 13-4 run to go in front 23-18 with 7:48 left before the break. Following a jumper by Rodby, the Wildcats were within four points with just over three minutes remaining. Benefitting from a 3-point play by Connor Freeberg and a 3-pointer from Serg Ovchinnikov, the Pioneers closed the half by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to assume command, 39-27.
Potter connected on his first 3-point attempt but missed his next four shots and the Wildcats shot 33 percent in the period to the Pioneers' 43 percent.
Freeberg did the most damage for Lewis & Clark, pumping in a game-high 20 points and collaring six rebounds. Ovchinnikov contributed 12 points, all of them coming by way of the 3-point shot, and Quentin Sims dropped in 10 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Lewis & Clark raised its season record to 10-3 and kept pace in the NWC standings at 3-1. Linfield fell to 2-11 and remained winless in conference action at 0-4.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Sunday's game was held over from Saturday after a weather-related power outage darkened portions of the Linfield campus, forcing the one-day postponement. . . the Wildcats lost for the ninth consecutive time, setting a club record for longest stretch without a victory. . . the Pioneers limited the Wildcats to a 4-for-20 night from 3-point range, taking away the most consistent weapon from Linfield's arsenal. . . first-year Wildcats coach Shanan Rosenberg went head-to-head against the program where he gained a share of his coaching chops. . . Rosenberg learned under retired L&C coach Bob Gaillard and alongside current Pios coach Dinari Forman. . . Linfield was a crisp 19-for-22 from the free throw line, led by Myren (6-of-6) and Potter (4-of-4).
AHEAD: The Wildcats enjoy the continuation of a three-game homestand during the coming weekend. Linfield hosts Whitman Friday night before battling defending NWC champion Whitworth on Saturday. Both games tip off at 8 o'clock with live video webcast coverage starting at approximately 7:50.