PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark men's basketball team pulled within six points of the Whitworth Pirates in the final minute of the game, but were unable to pull out a victory. The #6 ranked Pirates held on with time fading away, taking down the Pioneers 78-66 in Northwest Conference action.
The loss drops the Pioneers to 7-6 on the season and 1-3 in conference. The Pirates improve to 12-1 overall and a perfect 4-0 in the NWC.
Senior Dexter Pearce led the Pioneers with 17 points off the bench hitting five three pointers. James Hollins ended the night with 14 points and Connor Freeberg chipped in 10 off the bench. Ross Erickson pulled down a team-high eight rebounds for Lewis & Clark.
Dustin McConnell ended the game with the only double-double of the night, knocking down 14 points and collecting 10 boards. Colton McCargar scored a game-high 18 points in the Pirate victory.
Despite several early chances, the Pioneers were unable to get on the board first, setting up Whitworth to take a 2-0 lead with 17:31 on the clock. Erickson tied the game at 2-2 seconds later with a jumper, but the deadlock would be as close as the Pioneers would get to the Pirates the rest of the way.
Whitworth recaptured the lead with a 9-0 run over the next five minutes, earning an 11-2 advantage. Hollins pulled the Pioneers within five points with 4:36 remaining until halftime with a fast break layup, making it a 28-23 game. The Pirates buckled down, closing out the half with a 36-26 lead.
The Pirates held a double-digit lead throughout the majority of the second half. A Freeberg layup with 4:20 on the clock cut the Pioneer deficit to six. Lewis & Clark continued to pressure, remaining at a single digit deficit until the final 31 seconds of the game. McConnell increased the Pirate lead back to 10 with back-to-back free-throws, putting the game out of reach for the Pios.
The Pioneers return to the court on Friday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. as they travel to Willamette.