WALLA WALLA, Wash. - After trailing by 14 points midway through the first half, Whitman staged a spirited comeback, holding Linfield without a field goal over the final 5:44 on its way to an 86-71 win over the Wildcats Saturday evening at the Sherwood Center.
Despite shooting only 38.7 percent from the floor, Whitman (13-6, 6-4 NWC) was able to pull off the comeback thanks to 17 Linfield (8-11, 4-6 NWC) turnovers and 20 offensive rebounds.
A 13-2 run during the first half got the ‘Cats off to the start they hoped for. K.C. Wiser capped off the spurt with a 3-pointer, giving Linfield a 26-12 lead at the 11:03 mark of the first half.
After a Wiser dunk kept the lead at 14 with 5:24 remaining in the half, Whitman raced off 11-straight points to trim the deficit to three with just over two minutes remaining.
Coming out of the break the Missionaries continued to grind away at the deficit, finally taking a 56-55 lead on a Josh Duckworth free throw at the 12:07 mark. The lead would swell to 69-65 on a Brandon Shaw free throw six minutes later.
Linfield answered Shaw’s free throw with a 3-pointer from Wiser, bringing the ‘Cats back within one with 5:45 to play.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Wiser’s basket would be the last field goal of the evening for Linfield. The Missionaries closed out the game on a 17-3 run. Linfield’s only three points came at the free throw line.
Along with nine 3-pointers, Whitman forced their way to the free throw line throughout the night. The Missionaries knocked down 29-of-34 attempts from the charity stripe, including a 22-of-26 output during the second half.
Whitman benefitted from having six players score in double figures. David Michaels paced the Missionaries with a team-high 16 points, while Shaw came off the bench for 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Duckworth, Peter Clark, Ignas Pavilonis and Justin Artis all scored in double figures for the Missionaries.
Wiser continued to be the catalyst for the ‘Cats, as the senior tallied 29 points while playing all 40 minutes. Zach Anderson added 16 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
NEXT: Linfield returns to action Tuesday for an 8 p.m. home game against visiting Lewis & Clark.
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