WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Matt Brown scored a career-high 24 points in the Lewis & Clark Pioneers 93-72 road loss to the No. 3 Whitman Blues on Friday night. Brown went 10 of 18 from the floor at Sherwood Athletic Center as the Pioneers held court with the third-ranked team in the country during the opening half.
The loss moves the Pios three games behind George Fox for the final Northwest Conference tournament spot with five games remaining in the season.
Lewis & Clark hit more shots than Whitman on Friday. Overall, the Pioneers made 47 percent from the floor including a 7 of 9 stretch to begin the game to take a four-point lead.
Whitman (20-1, 12-0 NWC) took its first lead with 11:00 remaining and never trailed again. The Blues climbed to a 35-point advantage with 4:59 remaining in the game. For the second straight game against the Pios, former Lewis & Clark student-athlete Andrew Vickers led Whitman in scoring with 18 on 8 of 8 shooting at the free-throw line. Whitman opened the second half with six straight points, a stretch in which Lewis & Clark committed four fouls and didn't have a field goal for the first three minutes of the half.
The Pioneers were much improved from their 117-52 loss to the Blues earlier in the year when Whitman made 51 percent of its shots. Turnovers were still a factor on Friday, as 25 Lewis & Clark turnovers led to 32 Whitman points. Lewis & Clark committed seven in the first seven minutes of the game. The Pios had 32 turnovers in the first meeting that led to over 40 points.
- Lewis & Clark is winless against Whitman since 2014-15 when the Pios beat the Blues in the NWC tournament semifinals
- Brown went 7 of 9 in the second half and scored 18 of his 24 points
- The Pios were solid from the free-throw line yet again (77 percent) - they entered Friday with the second-best average in the conference - while Whitman had its second-best performance in its last 12 games by making 80 percent (28 of 35)
- Mak Hutson had his third straight game with three or more steals, while Jalen Lowery had his third game with at least three assists over his last five contests
- Foul trouble limited Floyd to 14 minutes, giving him a point total of nearly one per minute played
- Kody Kennedy nearly matched his career high for rebounds (9) with eight against the Blues
- Whitman's 28 made free throws and 35 attempts were both season highs by a Lewis & Clark opponent
The Pioneers will play at Whitworth on Saturday at 6 p.m. Lewis & Clark hasn't defeated the Pirates since the 2013-14 season. Whitworth enters the game off back-to-back losses at Willamette and Whitman.