OLYMPIA, Wash. – The No. 10 Lewis-Clark State men’s basketball team made enough plays to overcome its own miscues on Friday night, defeating a pesky Evergreen State squad 78-63 on Friday night at the CRC Gymnasium.
Lewis-Clark State, playing in its first game since attaining a program-best No. 10 national ranking, looked a bit out of sorts against the Geoducks, but did enough down the stretch to keep its unblemished record intact.
The Warriors committed 27 turnovers in the game, far beyond LCSC coach Brandon Rinta’s stated goal of 12 per contest, a total the team exceeded at halftime.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we made just enough plays to get it done,” Rinta said. “We just made some poor decisions, and just about all of the turnovers were unforced. It’s hard to put your finger on, but we’ve had 48 in our last two games. Luckily, we’ve been able to find ways to win.”
It’s been a different guy stepping up every night for the Warriors (11-0) and junior guard Derrick Wofford took his turn on Friday. Wofford scored 11 points against Evergreen (1-6), and it was apparent early on that the Geoducks’ guards could not stay in front of him off the bounce.
Wofford only had two field goals in the game on five attempts, but was 6-for-6 from the free throw line as he was able to penetrate and draw contact in the lane.
“I feel like in the last two games, Derrick’s been a little better,” Rinta said. “He was solid defensively tonight, and we needed him.”
Trey Sobotta started in the backcourt on Friday with Joseph Moquino sidelined with a bruised heel, and Wofford played 15 minutes off the bench.
The Warriors led by 12 points at halftime, but Evergreen went on a 12-2 run to start the second half, tying the game at 41 on a deep 3-pointer by Cody Peters, who led all scorers with 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting.
Sobotta answered with a trifecta of his own, but the Geoducks stuck around until LCSC finally pulled away in the last eight minutes.
Jacob Champoux hit a 3-pointer with 5:46 to go that put the Warriors up 65-54 and Evergreen couldn’t do more than trade baskets from that point on.
“We don’t shoot a whole lot of threes during the games, but somebody always seems to knock down a dagger for us,” Rinta said. “Jacob’s was certainly the biggest one tonight.”
Rinta said that the job his defense did on Evergreen’s top perimeter threats was a major factor in the victory.
Travis Wagner and K.J. Hong both entered the game shooting near 45 percent from beyond the arc and were draining between three and five triples in the Geoducks’ first six games.
Combined, the duo was 1-for-4 on Friday, with Wagner connecting in the game’s opening minutes.
“I thought for sure those two would get up 15 or 20 threes, and it would be a matter if they were going in or not,” Rinta said. “We did a tremendous job there.”
Donte Archie also had 11 points for the Warriors on Friday, and Robert Ellis was 3-for-3 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line for 10 points.
Lewis-Clark State will have a quick turnaround before its next contest, as it will battle 11-5 Portland Bible College in Centralia, Wash. at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“They have three really good shooters and a quick point guard,” Ritna said of Portland Bible, which defeated NCAA Division III George Fox last month. “They have a good blend of athleticism and shooting ability, and we’re not going to be able to turn the ball over 27 times against them.”