Warriors take down Walla Walla; notch first win of season
COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. – Having only played two tough exhibition games against NCAA Division I opponents thus far this season, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team was more than ready to kickoff the regular season against Walla Walla University on Monday night. The Warriors handled the Wolves 76-53 and officially begin the 2011-12 campaign at 1-0.
“We started the game off slow – like it was our third game on the road in the last five days,” said LCSC head coach Brandon Rinta noting his team’s recent schedule.
For the first 10 minutes the score remained close and with 9:13 on the clocked it was knotted at 15 apiece. But an 11-point run over the next four minutes pushed the Warriors into the lead and they never looked back.
LCSC held a 36-21 lead at the half, and pushed the lead to its largest point of 29 four times during the second half.
Led by 6-foot-6 forward PJ Bolte, the Warriors were aggressive in the paint and scored a lot of their points on the inside.
“We had a definite size advantage, so we were trying to pound it down low,” said Rinta. “They started double teaming the post, and when they did that we did a good job of passing it out and knocking down some shots.”
Bolte led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds, while perimeter players Joey Wayman and Dontie Archie added 11 points apiece on a combined 5-for-7 night from behind the 3-point line. Wayman finished 3-for-5 from the outside and Archie was 2-for-2.
Overall, LCSC shot 41.5 percent from the field and 35 percent from the outside (7-of-20). The Wolves shot 43.2 percent overall and 9.1 percent from behind the arc (1-of-11).
Along with steady production on offense, Rinta was also pleased with his team’s defensive effort as the Warriors forced 30 turnovers and gave up just five offensive rebounds.
LCSC finished with a 42-30 advantage in rebounds and also had 14 steals. Wayman led the team with seven thefts.
In what was a strong team effort, multiple Warriors put up good numbers including Darin Stewart who had nine points, six rebounds and three steals; Darious Walker who had seven points and four boards; and Ray Stout who had six points and six rebounds.
After three straight games on the road, the Warriors will be at home this weekend for the two-day LCSC Tournament. Play will begin on Friday with a 5:30 p.m. game between MSU-Northern and Southern Oregon followed by a 7:30 p.m. tilt between LCSC and Augustana. On Saturday, MSU-Northern and Augustana will play at 5:30 p.m. and LCSC and Southern Oregon will square off at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to coming home,” Rinta said. “Looking forward to getting back and playing in our own gym.”