Feb 02, 2019

Second Half Effort Falls Short Against Lutes

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  

By: Seth Pruess

NEWBERG --- The George Fox men's basketball team closed the books on their fourth Northwest Conference season series with a tilt against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday, February 2. The Bruins trailed 46-26 at the half and rallied to tie the game with five minutes remaining before falling at home to the Lutes in regulation, 79-69.


George Fox got out to a slow start against the Lutes and struggled to match their energy in the early moments of the game. After six minutes of action, the Bruins trailed 14-4 after their early looks continually turned into shots that were just off the mark.

The Bruins' early offense leaned heavily on isolation looks created by Mason Green-Richards and Ryan Lacey, whereas the Lutes continued to move the ball and created open shots all over the floor. With 10 minutes left in the half, the Bruins trailed 24-9 after struggling to guard the Lutes' shooters around the arc.

After the media break at eight minutes, however, the Bruins strung together a series of strong defensive stops and used an 8-0 run to trim the lead to 25-18 and force a Lutes timeout. The Lutes answered back with quick 9-5 burst powered by a trio of treys, and at the half the Bruins found themselves behind, 46-26, after the Lutes shot better than 50% from beyond the arc.

After collecting themselves in the locker room at the break, the Bruins played with an entirely different energy to start the second half. Kalu Stricklin came off the bench and ignited the crowd with four electric buckets as part of a 21-9 run that cut the Lutes' lead down to a 55-47 advantage with 12 minutes left to play in regulation.

As the half continued, the Bruins' heavy pressure on defense continued to pay off and their shots began to fall with consistency as they drove the lane to great effect. The Bruins' run continued on a white-hot streak to cut the Lutes' lead down to a single tally, 58-57, with just under eight minutes to play in the game.

The Lutes finally woke up with five minutes left to play. After the Bruins had outscored their opponents 35-15 to tie the game at 61-61 through the first fifteen minutes of action in the second half, the Lutes were able to put together a final run. After a great initial effort to start the second half, the Bruins lost their spark late in a 79-69 defeat that was inflated by foul shots in the final seconds.

Top Performers

Striklin scored a team-high 14 points while coming off the bench and made hustle play after hustle play to spark the rally in the second half. Lacey equaled Striklin's tally with 14 points himself, and Green-Richards added 13 for the Bruins. Dylan Hamlett tallied four blocks to help his team in the loss.

What It Means

The Bruins split the season series after the loss and fall to 6-6 in NWC play and are now 12-9 overall with four games left on the regular-season slate.

What Happens Next

The Bruins head out on the road for their next three games against the 'Whits,' Whitman and Whitworth, as well as Linfield. The Bruins will finish the regular season at home against Willamette on February 15, at 8:00 pm.