Battle in the paint results in a Pioneers victory

Battle in the paint results in a Pioneers victory

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers had a tough matchup on Saturday and pulled out their third conference win, 62-57, against the Willamette Bearcats. The win improved their conference record to 3-7.

It was a low-scoring first half for both teams, as they were unable to pass double digits until the 10th minute. There was also a total of 10-plus fouls caused by both teams, which helped cause the low score at halftime. The Pioneers finished ahead 26-25 at the break and Kyle Owens had 10 points.

In the second half, both teams were still battling in the paint with both Zeke Crawford and Daelon Floyd grabbing tough rebounds against Willamette's Jordan Jenkins. With under a minute left, Nico Bricker was able to drop a pass to Mak Hutson who drained a 3-pointer to put the Pios up 57-51. On the next possession, Andrew Vickers scored a layup with 21 seconds left off of an inbound pass. The Bearcats made one 3-pointer to make the score 60-57, but Hutson drained two free-throws to seal the Pioneers win.

"We really needed to close this one out for the team to gain their confidence back and so that we can continue this progression," said Floyd. "Not only have we been battling every game, but we are learning from them and that'll only improve our game."

Lewis & Clark had 28 rebounds compared to Willamette's 38, but were able to handle to basketball better in only committing seven turnovers to 20 by the Bearcats. The Pios also scored more in the paint, 34-22.

Crawford finished the game with 10 rebounds and six points while Floyd had seven points and six rebounds. Bricker was the leading scorer for the Pios with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists.

The Pioneers will stay at home to play top-ranked Whitman on Friday. Tip-off will begin at 8 p.m.