FOREST GROVE, Ore. – A loss was not the way the Linfield men’s basketball envisioned the start of Northwest Conference action, but with four Pacific players scoring in double figures, that is exactly what happened. The Boxers earned a 76-67 victory over the Wildcats Tuesday night in both clubs’ season opener at the Stoller Center.
Charles Mosley led all players with 22 points for the Boxers, who remain undefeated at 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the NWC. Teammates David Berney, Colin Wester and Dustin Boswer also posted double-digit scoring for the home squad with 15, 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Already missing several players – all big men – due to injury, the ‘Cats (1-4, 0-1 NWC) were also plagued by late turnovers and free throw woes.
But early on, things were looking up for the Wildcats, losers of their previous two games. Linfield and Pacific battled through six ties and 10 lead changes in a tightly-contested first half. A layup by Dakotah Pine got things started for the ‘Cats, who enjoyed their biggest lead of the game – four points – at the 10:52 mark of the first period.
The Boxers led by three with 1:54 left on the clock, but a 3-pointer by Cory Hendryx (Sr., Scappoose, Ore.) and two free throws by Zach Anderson sparked a 5-0 run that tipped the score in the Wildcats’ favor.
Linfield owned a 36-34 advantage at the halftime, but Pacific came out of the locker room and went on a 4-0 run to take the lead. Aside from three ties early on in the second period, the Boxers led the rest of the way, stretching their lead to as many as nine points.
The ‘Cats came close to reclaiming the lead twice in the second period, cutting Pacific’s lead to one point each time. A jumper by Anderson made it a 56-55 game with 7:01 remaining in the game, but the Boxers went on a 6-0 run to pull away again.
Linfield, which had taken good care of the ball up to that point, suddenly became sloppy, committing four turnovers during that stretch.
The visiting Wildcats also struggled from the free throw line, particularly in the final few minutes of the game. Overall, Linfield earned nearly the same number of trips to the charity stripe as the home team, but converted a paltry 56.5 percent of those opportunities compared to 92 percent for the home team.
A pair of late 3-pointers by Michael Moreland and Tim Logan made it interesting, but the Boxers calmly knocked down 10-of-10 free throws in the final minute to preserve the victory.
Anderson continued his streak of 20-point scoring outputs, totaling exactly that on 6-of-19 shooting to go along with a team-high nine rebounds. Moreland added 15 points and three rebounds. Despite lacking size, Linfield was only outrebounded 34-30.
UP NEXT: Linfield returns home for the first time in three games to take on Pacific Lutheran in an 8 p.m. Northwest Conference matchup.
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