WEEKEND RECAP: Whitman Goes Bananas, Slugs UC Santa Cruz

Quin Nelson

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The Whitman College men’s basketball team dominated the University of California, Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, beating them 87-65 Thursday night at Ball Court.

The Banana Slugs were overwhelmed immediately by Whitman’s defensive intensity, committing ten turnovers in the first half. The Missionaries raced out to a 20-4 lead behind their defensive pressure and size advantage in the post. Junior forward Ben Eisenhardt easily shot over the undersized UCSC front line, slashing his way to 12 points in the first half and 26 for the game. Senior forward Ryan Gilkey also had a strong half, powering his way to eight points and four rebounds. After the initial Missionaries onslaught, UCSC calmed down and brought themselves back into the game with timely three-pointers from Junior guard Spencer Wells. By halftime, the Banana Slugs were only down 37-29.

UCSC was able to continue their comeback early in the second half. Junior guard Trent Reeves hit two three-pointers right away, and the rest of the Banana Slugs backcourt was able to limit their turnovers and slow the pace, in turn slowing down the Whitman offense. The Banana Slugs cut the lead down to four, and were trailing 46-42, but Whitman soon regained momentum. Eisenhardt continued to attack the basket and draw fouls, eventually causing UCSC forward Josh Steadman to foul out. Junior guard Josh Duckworth, who scored 20 points for the game to go with eight rebounds, was able to find space in the Banana Slugs defense for plenty of mid-range shots and layups. The Missionaries had control with several minutes to spare, and coasted to an 87-65 victory.

The Whitman Missionaries are now 4-2 and are on a four-game winning streak. Their next game is on Friday, Dec. 7 at against the University of Puget Sound at Ball Court.

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