Lewis & Clark’s first-half lead evaporates in home loss

Lewis & Clark’s first-half lead evaporates in home loss

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers saw Puget Sound shoot 55 percent in the second half, and the visiting Loggers made their free throws down the stretch, in an 84-76 defeat at Pamplin Sports Center on Friday night.

Leading by eight points at halftime, the Pios scored just once in the first four minutes of the second half as Puget Sound closed to within four points. Lewis & Clark recovered to maintain a lead past the halfway point of the second half before a Carlos Mancasola score and free throw tied the game at 57-57. Three minutes later, Kohl Meyer made a 3-pointer and Puget Sound went ahead for good.

Despite a second-straight 18-plus scoring performance from Andrew Vickers, although only five came after halftime, the Pios were unable to string together defensive stops before the Loggers made 12 of 14 free throws over the final 10 minutes of the game.

The loss hurts Lewis & Clark's chances of qualifying for the Northwest Conference postseason tournament. The Pioneers (8-13; 5-7 NWC) are now two games behind Pacific Lutheran for fourth place, the final spot for the playoffs, finishing the week in sixth place. On Tuesday, Lewis & Clark beat George Fox, 84-80, but trail the Bruins by two in the loss column with George Fox still to play on Saturday.

Markel Leonard scored early for the Pios, getting seven points in the game's first six minutes on his way to 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting. Along with Vickers, Leonard was slowed in the second half. The two combined for 21 first-half points before putting in 13 together in the second. Cannen Roberson was the opposite, following up a 0 for 7 start with 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Puget Sound (11-9; 4-7 NWC) shot 47 percent for the game and outgained Lewis & Clark, 17-9, in fastbreak points. Five Loggers were in double figures, led by Mancasola's 18 and Meyer's 17 points.

Kyle Owens hit 3 of his 4 3-point attempts in the first half to finish with nine points. Cory Coombe added eight more, going 3 for 3 from the free-throw line. Leonard had a team-high three assists with Coombe and Roberson adding two apiece.

The Pios have one more home game remaining, hosting Pacific for Senior Night on Feb. 11. The night before, Lewis & Clark plays at Willamette with tip scheduled for 8 p.m.

Other Northwest Conference Scores - Friday

Whitman 90, Pacific 79
Pacific Lutheran 77, Willamette 65
Whitworth 79, Linfield 63