(Story courtesy of Texas Lutheran Univesity Sports Information Department)
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Second-ranked Whitman College (Wash.) put up 61 second-half points and ran away from a feisty Texas Lutheran Bulldogs squad to post a 102-79 win in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship. Box Score
At Whitman's Sherwood Athletic Center, the Blues improved to 27-1 and advanced to face Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) on Saturday for the right to play in the DIII Third Round.
Six Bulldog seniors - Nathan Josephs, Harris Jowell, Alex Cage, Jacob Kouremetis, Jackson Willoughby and Shawn Hamilton - combined to win four Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships and make four NCAA tournament trips.
Jowell, who played through a knee injury in the final weeks of the season and saw time Friday against Whitman, was on all four SCAC Championships and all four NCAA tournament teams. He is the only Bulldog to play in four NCAA tournament games.
Against Whitman, TLU took an early four-point lead and weathered an initial charge by the Blues. Whitman plays at a rapid-fire, frenetic pace that relies on opponent turnovers and an inability to handle relentless full-court pressure.
Initially, TLU played at more of the pace it wanted. Plus, the Bulldogs were able to knock down some early shots in the process. TLU still trailed 41-32 at the half.
In the second half, after a Josephs three brought TLU immediately within six points, Whitman went on 21-5 run that stretched the lead to 22, 62-40, with 13:53 to play. Whitman's Joey Hewitt scored 11 of his game-high 24 in that spurt. Hewitt hit eight of his 14 shots and three of his seven three-point attempts. He added seven rebounds. Jack Stewart chipped in 20 points and three rebounds, and Darne Ducket added 17 points and three assists.
The Blues made 50 percent of their shots for the game and went to the line 35 times (where they made 23 free throws). TLU shot 44.1 percent for the game and 43.3 percent from the arc. The Bulldogs committed 19 turnovers that led to 29 Whitman points.
Cage led TLU with 16 points. He hit four three-pointers and had five assists. Willoughby added 15, and he hit six of his 11 shot attempts. Willoughby also pulled down seven rebounds. Josephs scored 14 and had five assists, and Hamilton recorded 10 rebounds and six points.
The Bulldogs made 13 of their 30 three-point attempts. TLU was out-rebounded 50-31. Whitman had 19 offensive rebounds. TLU's season ends at 18-10.