Recap | Recap | Box Score
PUGET SOUND 66, GEORGE FOX 63: Loggers Edge Bruins in Skirmish for 5th in NWC
NEWBERG, Ore. – In a season-ending skirmish to determine sole possession of fifth place in the Northwest Conference men’s basketball standings, the University of Puget Sound Loggers pulled ahead in the last four minutes to edge the George Fox University Bruins 66-63 Saturday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center’s Miller Gym.
George Fox held two-point leads three times and there were three ties in the first five minute of the game before Puget Sound took its first lead at 9-6 on a three-pointer by Kaleb Shelton with 14:51 left in the first half. The Loggers went on to build nine-point leads twice, the second at 19-10 on a Riggs Yarbro layup with 12 minutes to go, but the Bruins closed in with an 8-0 run, narrowing the gap to 19-18 on a Stephen Wiseley jumper with 8:35 left.
A three-pointer by Cam Rier gave George Fox its first lead in over 12 minutes at 26-25 at the 3:15 mark, and they twice took three-point margins before settling for a 30-29 halftime lead. Wiseley had 10 to lead the Bruins while Shelton led the Loggers with nine. Neither team shot particularly well in the period, George Fox hitting 11-30 (.367) and Puget Sound only 8-31 (.258).
The field goal accuracy shot up for both teams in the second half as each went over 40 percent. The teams traded leads six times in the first four minutes of the half, the Bruins finally taking a 36-35 lead on a Cole Whitehurst layup at the 16:22 mark. They extended the margin to eight at 43-35 with 15:12 left on a fast-break dunk by Rich Smith, but the Loggers would not go away and eventually knotted it 58-58 on a Shelton three with 4:48 to go.
Whitehurst and Yarbro swapped layups before an Anthony Gittens basket gave Puget Sound a lead it would not relinqish at 62-60 with 2:40 remaining. Gittens hit another layup for a three-point lead at the 1:15 mark, and a free throw for a three-point bulge with 24 seconds left. Rier missed a three-point try for the tie from the top of the key with six seconds left and Whitehurst rebounded, but after a Bruin time out with 0.6 ticks left, they could not get off a decent shot at the basket as the season ended for both teams.
Whitehurst led the Bruins with 19 points, Wiseley added 14, and Smith scored 13. The Bruins shot .404 (23-57) from the floor but only .200 (4-20) from three-point range, and drained 13-17 free throws (.765). Smith just missed a double-double with nine rebounds, while Wiseley had game highs of five assists and three steals. Davis Martin blocked three shots.
Shelton had 20 points and three assists, Gittens posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Yarbro scored 11 for the Loggers. UPS finished with a .361 field goal percentage (22-61), .375 (6-16) from long range, and hit .800 (16-20) from the stripe. The Loggers owned the boards 46-33.
George Fox closes the season with an 8-17 overall mark and alone in sixth place in the conference at 6-10. Puget Sound finishes fifth at 7-9 in the league and was 10-15 overall.
NOTES: The Bruins bid farewell to graduating seniors Wiseley, Smith, and Martin in pre-game ceremonies. Wiseley ended his two-year George Fox career with a free throw percentage of .849 (185-218), third on the all-time Bruin list behind Gary Chenault (.870, 195-224, 1976-79) and Dave Morgan (.857, 84-98, 1970-72).