PORTLAND, Ore. – Warner Pacific made the Linfield men’s basketball team pay for its mistakes Saturday night, turning a season-high 27 turnovers by the Wildcats into 28 points en route to a 79-60 victory at Bart Valentine Court.
Nick Shultens was one of five Knights to score in double figures, tallying 15 points to go along with four of Warner Pacific’s 18 steals. Zach Anderson had a game-high 23 for the Wildcats (2-7), who have lost two of their last three games.
Perhaps surprisingly considering the final score, Linfield actually led early, up 9-2 at the 16:07 mark of the first half thanks to four early points from Andrew Batiuk. Sparked by a Shulten jumper, a 15-6 run by the Knights allowed the home team to claim its first lead with 9:55 remaining in the first half.
Linfield tied it at 19-all on a 3-pointer by Zach Meikle, but came no closer to victory the rest of the game as Warner Pacific rattled off the next 10 points and never looked back. The Knights’ lead grew to 12 points when Shultens hit a jumper six seconds before time expired in the first half. He led all players with 10 points before the break.
An inspired Wildcat team cut the lead to five points about six minutes into the second half on a 3-pointer by Michael Moreland. But turnovers and missed free throws were Linfield’s undoing, and Warner Pacific’s lead climbed back to double digits within three quick minutes.
While Linfield had more of its fair share of turnover troubles with 27 miscues, free throw shooting was not a high point for either team. Warner Pacific’s 64.7 percent (11-of-17) effort from the charity stripe was not much better than Linfield’s 52.4 percent (11-of-21) clip.
Despite their free throw woes, the Knights had no trouble putting points on the board, and enjoyed a comfortable double-digit lead over the final 11:27. The home team owned a 22-point lead with 2:50 remaining, but did not score again. It was Linfield that notched the final three points of the game on free throws by Anderson and Meikle.
In addition to Shultens’ 15 points, Stephen Harris, Biniam Tadele, Sean Gaines and Doug Thomas all provided double-digit scoring efforts for Warner Pacific.
Linfield was led by Anderson, who had 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Batiuk finished with 14 points and Moreland contributed 11. Meikle was the only Wildcat with a double-double, scoring 10 and hauling in a game-high 14 rebounds. Linfield got virtually no offensive production from its bench, which was outscored by Warner Pacific’s reserves 20-2.
UP NEXT: After a week-long break from competition to take final exams, the Wildcats travel to Portland for a rematch against Concordia Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Wildcats won the first game this season, 88-72 in McMinnville.
Game-high 23 points
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128