COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. – Walla Walla University didn’t go away easy, but the Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team eventually was able to pick up the victory on Saturday night. The Warriors topped the Wolves 76-62 to improve to 10-0 on the year.
“It was a tough game,” said LCSC head coach Brandon Rinta. “We were up by 13 at the half and they came back.”
After playing in front of a crowd of 6,000 against one of the best teams in the nation in Gonzaga on Thursday, Rinta said that getting his players ready for Saturday’s game was a little bit of a challenge.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game to get up for coming off of the environment that we played in on Thursday. Also playing a team that we had already beat made it a challenge to mentally prepare the way we need to.”
Walla Walla (0-14), which fell to the Warriors 85-60 on Nov. 6, caught fire early in the second half and was able to trim LCSC’s lead to single digits.
“They got in a rhythm offensively, and we had to start trapping full court to try to force some turnovers,” said Rinta. “Their center (Miguel Martinez) had a really good game.”
Martinez ended up with 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field.
Senior P.J. Bolte countered Martinez’s game with 21 points and eight rebounds. Danny Marshall added12 points and eight boards, and Donte Archie had 10 points and seven rebounds.
“P.J. played well, and Rob (Robert Ellis) and Trey (Sobotta) hit some big threes for us to give us some cushion again in the second half.”
Ellis was 3-for-5 from the outside and finished with 14 points, while Sobotta had seven points.
The Warriors shot 50 percent (27-of-54) from the field and 33 percent (4-for-12) from the outside. Walla Walla was 39.4 percent overall (26-of-66) and 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from beyond the arc.
LCSC had a 42-33 advantage in rebounds, but committed 21 turnovers to Walla Walla’s 18.
Next week LCSC will play two more road games before hosting its Frontier Conference league-opener against Great Falls on Dec. 15. The Warriors will face Evergreen State on Friday, and Portland Bible on Saturday. Saturday’s game will be the team’s eighth straight contest on the road.
“It already feels like we’ve been on the road forever, and we still have one more road trip before league play,” said Rinta. “Hopefully we can continue to build on this momentum on the road.”
Complete stats were not available on Saturday.