PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark men's basketball team opened the season on fire Friday night in the Pamplin Sports Center, taking down UC Santa Cruz 99-68 in the Pioneers home opener. The Pios were paced by junior Quentin Sims who was one of five players to score in double-digits for L&C.
Sims finished 6-of-9 from behind the three-point arc to go with his two made free-throws. Freshman Kurt Parker scored 21 points for the Pioneers in his first regular season contest, knocking down 8-of-10 from the charity stripe. Connor Freeberg concluded the night with 14 points, while Ross Erickson had 13 and freshman Jason Luhnow tallied 12 points.
Freeberg pulled down a team-high six rebounds for L&C, while Erickson, Sims and Ben Neves each had five boards. Luhnow led all players with a game-high three steals, while Erickson and Freeberg each had a block.
James Townsend scored a team-high 12 points for the Banana Slugs, while teammate Spence Wells scored 10. Townsend also led all players in rebounds with eight.
Justin Leathers got things going in the first half for L&C with a quick layup, but the Banana Slugs surged back to take a 7-2 lead. Lewis & Clark grabbed the lead again three minutes later with back-to-back three pointers from Luhnow and Sims, followed by a steal from Luhnow that setup a Sims layup.
Trent Reeves tied the contest at 12-12 with 13:14 on the clock, but that was as close as UC Santa Cruz would come to the Pioneers the rest of the way. An Erickson layup at the nine-minute mark put the Pioneers ahead 25-16, before Freeberg put the team up by 10 with 7:08 in the half.
Parker hit back-to-back free-throws in the final minute of the first half to put the Pioneers ahead 51-31.
The second half was all Lewis & Clark with the Pioneers taking a 40-point, 98-58, lead with 3:21 left in the game on a Freeberg layup. UC Santa Cruz hit a couple baskets down the stretch but not enough to pull itself back into the contest.
Lewis & Clark returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. against Colorado College at Willamette as part of the NWC Tipoff Classic.