PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark men's basketball team held on to take down the Whitman Missionaries 88-84 on Friday night in the Pamplin Sports Center.
The Pioneers improve to 7-5 on the season and earn their first Northwest Conference win of the season (1-2 NWC). The Missionaries fall to 8-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Senior James Hollins led the way for the Pioneers with a team-high 23 points. Ross Erickson earned the games only double-double, knocking down 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Kurt Parker also ended the night with 15 points, while Dexter Pearce scored 13.
Josh Duckworth led all players with 34 points, while teammate Matt Mounier finished with 16 for the Missionaries. Den Eisenhardt was the only other Missionarie to finish in double-digits, scoring 12 points.
The game proved to be a battle of wills with the two sides battling until the end. The two sides traded possession of the lead 10 times, while tying the contest on eight occasions.
Scott Pisapia and Erickson put the Pioneers ahead 4-0 at the start of the contest, but the Missionaries quickly countered. After tying the half at 30-30 with 3:47 to go, Parker hit back-to-back free-throws to earn the Pioneers the lead. The Pios held on to the lead through the remaining three minutes, taking a 43-38 advantage into the locker room.
The Pioneer bench played a huge role in the first half, scoring 27 of the teams points.
The second half was similar to the first with the rivals flip-flopping possession of the scoreboard six times. Whitman came out of the half focused, going on an 11-0 run before the Pioneers were able to respond.
Two Erickson free-throws earned the lead back for the Pioneers, putting the team ahead 50-49 with 16:22 left to play. Parker earned the lead back for the Pios for good with 12:48 to go with a fast break layup assisted by Justin Leathers.
The Pioneers return to action on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. when they host the Whitworth Pirates.