NEWBERG, Ore. -- Lewis & Clark's 81-56 defeat to the George Fox Bruins on Friday night at Wheeler Sports Center sets up a win-and-in scenario for the Pioneers on Saturday night against Puget Sound.
Despite leading early, the Pios fell behind by double digits with 6:40 left in the second. Still, Lewis & Clark (13-11, 8-7 NWC) worked back to within eight, 39-31, with under three minutes left. In the second half, George Fox pulled away, opening up a 56-36 lead with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter.
With a one-game lead over Puget Sound in the Northwest Conference standings for the fourth-and-final postseason tournament spot, Lewis & Clark must win on Saturday to get in. Puget Sound won the first meeting from last month, and with a win in Portland on Saturday, would take the season series and head-to-head tiebreaker.
Lewis & Clark students, faculty and staff receive free admission and free pizza for Saturday's game.
Against George Fox's full-court press, the Pioneers held steady with only 15 turnovers, but the Bruins grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, 12 of which came in the first half. George Fox outscored Lewis & Clark, 29-23, in points off of turnovers and second-chance points. The Bruins (21-3, 14-1 NWC) were led by Kaitlin Jamieson with 17 points on 8 of 11 shooting with eight rebounds.
Lewis & Clark claimed an early lead, 5-2, in the opening minute before going cold until there were about four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Bruins' win combined with Whitman's loss at Willamette on Friday night allows George Fox to control its own destiny to the NWC regular-season championship and the tournament's No. 1 seed. A win on Saturday over Pacific would secure the top spot for the Bruins, which means if Lewis & Clark wins over Puget Sound at Pamplin Sports Center on Saturday, the Pioneers will play in Newberg again on Thursday in the NWC semifinals. Should Whitman win and George Fox lose on Saturday and Whitman gets the tiebreaker, Lewis & Clark will play at Whitman in Walla Walla, Wash. Willamette is locked into the No. 3 seed.