Despite 11 3-pointers, Lewis & Clark can’t top No. 2 Whitman

Despite 11 3-pointers, Lewis & Clark can’t top No. 2 Whitman

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Markel Leonard's 3-pointer at the end of the first half helped the Lewis & Clark Pioneers to a halftime lead, but the Pios didn't hold on in Saturday night's 82-69 loss to the No. 2 Whitman Blues at Pamplin Sports Center.

Leonard's triple was one of 11 that Lewis & Clark made in the game that concluded a weekend-long set against nationally-ranked teams. The Pioneers (7-10; 4-4 NWC) are now tied for fourth place in the Northwest Conference with Linfield.

Lewis & Clark led 51-50 with 11:47 remaining in the game after a pair of Jonathan Boddie free throws before Whitman (16-0; 7-0 NWC) strung together takeaways and scores to move up 60-51 in under two minutes.

The Blues, who were playing without having played a game on Friday, as is the norm in the NWC, forced 17 turnovers while committing only five themselves. Due to travel concerns from Walla Walla, Wash. to Portland, Whitman's originally-scheduled game with George Fox on Friday was moved to Sunday.

"What we can take out of this game is that one mental lapse can hurt us," said Leonard, who finished with 10 points. "We must be mentally sharp for 40 minutes to beat top teams and eliminate the mental lapses that we had towards the end of the second half."

For the third-straight game, and for the sixth time in the last eight, Lewis & Clark put in 10-plus 3-pointers. Makes from long range by Andrew Vickers and Alex Jones may have been the biggest moments in the game for the Pioneers. Vickers was 4 for 6 from 3-point range and made two on back-to-back possessions to bring the Pios within eight in the middle of the first half. Jones finished 4 of 9 from beyond the arc, a season high in made attempts, putting in three over a three-minute stretch toward the end of the first half. The pair combined for 27 points.

Despite shooting 50 percent overall in the second half, Lewis & Clark was still outshot by Whitman, which hit on 22 of 33 in the final 20 minutes. Jase Harrison had 23 points to lead Whitman.

Cannen Roberson ended a drought of 0 for 14 from the field in the first three halves of the weekend to finish 7 of 7 for a team-high 16 points.

"This weekend was a great learning experience for us," said Leonard. "Whitworth challenged our mental capacity and mental toughness, and Whitman challenged our physical toughness with a lot of pressure."

The Pios lost 66-61 to No. 6 Whitworth on Friday.

Boddie, who entered the game in the top 100 nationally in rebounds, finished with a game-high seven boards and also had one block, the 60th of his career. Cory Coombe had four points and a game-best four assists.

Lewis & Clark's remaining schedule features four games at home and four on the road, ending with trips to Whitman and Whitworth on Feb. 17-18. The Pioneers are still in NWC tournament contention, as the top four teams make the postseason.

Other Northwest Conference Scores - Saturday

Willamette 70, Pacific 69
Pacific Lutheran 67, Linfield 54
Whitworth 83, George Fox 53