Jan 12, 2019

Bruins' First Half Lead Not Enough Against Whitman

A Winning Tradition

  • Three NAIA National Tournaments (1973, 1990, 1992)
  • Two NAIA District Championship (1973, 1990)
  • 22 NAIA District Tournaments
  • Three NAIA Top 25 National Rankings (1990, 1991, 1992)
  • Four Northwest Conference Tournaments (1997-1998, 2009-2010, 2012-2013, 2016-17)
  • Two Cascade Conference Tournaments (1994, 1995)
  • Two NCCAA National Tournaments (1985, 1987)
  • Seven NCCAA Regional Tournaments (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
  • One NCCAA National Coach of the Year
  • Three NAIA District Coaches of the Year
  • Two Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • Two Northwest Conference Players of the Year
  • 17 All-Americans
  • Three NBA Draft Picks  

NEWBERG --- The George Fox men's basketball team played host to its second NCAA Top 10 opponent in as many days with a tilt against the No. 4-ranked Whitman Blues on Saturday, January 12. The Bruins took a lead into the locker room at the half but the Blues were able to power passed the Bruins in the second half for an 81-69 win.


The Blues won the opening tip and scored on the first possession of the night, but Jackson Januik answered with a trey on the other end and Ryan Lacey followed with a jumper to give the Bruins a 5-2 lead with 18:25 left in the half.

The Bruins played terrific defense throughout the first half and quieted the Blues' top options, forcing Whitman to rely on their second and third looks on offense. The Bruins also had to play deep into the shot clock against stingy defense from the Blues, but Januik was able to pierce the defense and scored 10 in the opening period.

The Bruins led by as many as eight with seven minutes left in the first half and were able to build their lead after out-rebounding the Blues by 11 boards in the first half. After a grinding defensive effort with great team rebounding, the Bruins took a 35-33 lead into the locker room at the break.

The Blues came out with renewed energy in the second half and pushed the Bruins to beat their full-court press. George Fox lost some of its precision and focus in the early going of the second half and allowed the Blues to dictate the tempo, and the Blues came back to tie the game at 39-39 with 16:34 left to play.

The Bruins' struggles in the second half continued as Whitman ripped off 27-16 run over the next ten minutes. Lacey hit a layup and the and-one foul shot to make it 66-56, but the Blues answered with the same play on the other end to hold their lead at 69-58 with just under seven minutes left to play.

The Bruins kept fighting, but the Blues' transition defense smothered the Bruins in the closing minutes of the game and the Bruins' turnovers were continually cashed in on the opposite end. Lacey hit a handful of shots to cut the lead to eight with under three to play, but the Blues hit their foul shots and stayed tight on defense to close the game with a final burst for the 69-81 victory.

Top Performers

After shaking off a cold start to his night, Lacey finished with a team-high 20 points and a career-best 10 boards in his first career double-double. Hamlett also pulled down 10 boards for the Bruins, and Wesley Reynolds joined Januik with 10 points apiece for the Bruins.

What It Means

The Bruins drop their second NWC contest of the 2018-19 season to another Top 10 opponent, but they played well against another top-tier opponent for long stretches before running out of gas late in the game.

What Happens Next

The Bruins play host for Linfield College on Tuesday, January 15, at 8:00 pm to wrap up a four-game homestand.