Right out of the gate, the matchup between the Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran men had the making of a cross-town classic. It was raining three-pointers, as the Lutes’ Andrew Earnest and the Loggers’ Derek Jobe were finding the range from beyond the arc. Earnest went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and had 14 first-half points, while Jobe hit two of three as both teams were looking for that one spark to put them over the top. The Lutes’ Daniel Landram and Cam Schilling added the extra element for Pacific Lutheran, scoring nine and five first-half points, respectively, to give the Lutes a seven-point halftime lead at 36-29. It would be a lead they would hold for the rest of the night, as the Lutes pulled away to beat the Loggers by a score of 78-64 at Memorial Fieldhouse on Jan. 2.
“We had to find a way to slow down Jobe, and Cam Schilling stepped up and did a fine job for a good portion of the game,” said head PLU coach Steve Dickerson, who saw his team get a much-needed win following a rough trip through Minnesota in an early season tournament. “It was a great team effort. We were really tough on the defensive end.”
Meanwhile, the Loggers were looking for a spark and found one in Rex Nelson, who helped cut an 18-point Lute lead down to nine – at 68-59 – with two free throws with just under four minutes left. But the Lutes responded with an 8-0 run, sealing the win to notch their first conference victory of the year and a 1-2 record in league play, while the Loggers fell to 0-3.
“We knew that we would have to maintain our intensity at halftime, and it propelled us to the win tonight,” said Landram, who finished with 16 points. Earnest finished with 18 points to lead the Lutes.
But the defensive effort against Jobe was the turning point of the game, as he was held scoreless in the second half and finished with 18 points.
“Our resolve coming out of the locker room was the key to the second half,” said Dickerson. “This effort by our kids tonight speaks very well of (them). The job Landram did in the second half, we’ll need this kind of effort the rest of the season if we hope to compete for postseason play.”
The Lutes added a 75-61 win at Linfield on Jan. 5, and were set to host Pacific (Ore.) on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. Puget Sound responded with a convincing 75-62 win over Willamette on Jan. 4, and were set to travel to Linfield for a game on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.