Strong first half leads Pioneers to first conference win

Strong first half leads Pioneers to first conference win

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers ended the first half on a 12-4 run to take a 19-point lead into half-time against the Willamette Bearcats on their way to their first conference win of the season. The Pioneers' offense slowed down in the second half allowing the Bearcats to pull within two with less than two minutes to play but the Pioneers hung on for the win. 

Zeke Crawford and Daelon Floyd combined for 43 of the Pioneers 80 points. Crawford added 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Kody Kennedy and Jalen Lowry combined for 10 of the team's 17 assists.

Eleven of Floyd's 22 points came in the first six minutes of the game. When asked about his hot start Floyd said "It's honestly ... you've got to find something to play for and I found something to play for today. I'm going to try and continue that energy and bring it to my team so we can continue to win these games. I really believe we can win the rest of these games if we play with heart and just have that leadership out there."

The Pioneers outshot the Bearcats by a slim margin going 43.1 percent from the floor compared to the Bearcats 42.6 percent. The Bearcats were led offensively by Jordan Jenkins who finished the game with 23 points and 13 rebounds. 

Follow the Lewis & Clark Pioneers on social media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | #LCMBB | #RollPios | #chamPIOns

Key Moments

The Pioneers and Bearcats traded baskets to start the game but the Pioneers started to pick up momentum at the 16th-minute mark with Floyd going on an 8-0 run to give the Pioneers a six-point lead with 14 minutes to play in the first half. The Pioneers kept that momentum going extending the lead to 14 with 10 minutes to play off of back-to-back lay-ups by Jalen Lowry. The Pioneers ended the half on a 12-4 run featuring six points apiece by Crawford and Andrew Paniccaci.

The Pioneers offense slowed considerably in the first half allowing the Bearcats to chip away at the Pioneers' 19-point lead. The Bearcats went on an 18-6 run midway through the second half to bring the game to within seven points. Back-to-back lay-ups by the Bearcats' Jonathan Watts followed by a free-throw from Jenkins brought the game to within two but this is the closest the Bearcats would get. A clutch three-pointer by freshman Ryan Cibull followed by a made free throw from Cibull with less than a minute to play sealed the win for the Pioneers.  

Deeper Look

  • Freshman Ryan Cibull made his first career start for the Pioneers and finished with four points in 22 minutes played
  • Freshman Jalen Lowry had career-highs in both assists (5) and rebounds (9)
  • The Pioneers outscored the Bearcats 44-36 in the paint 
  • The Pioneers had 17 assists, just one short of their season-high
  • Panicacci finished with 10 points marking his third game in a row with double-digit scoring
  • Crawford's 22 points is just one point short of his career-high set earlier this season

Looking Ahead

The Pioneers continue conference play tomorrow at home against Pacific with tip-off set for 6 p.m.