PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers played fast and ferocious in Saturday evening's NWC opener against the Pacific Boxers at Pamplin Sports Center, ultimately losing the contest 116-110. The Pioneers were the first to put points on the board when Zeke Crawford batted the ball to Matt Brown off of tipoff, the momentum of which helped them to establish a strong lead throughout the beginning of the half. The 13 point Lewis & Clark lead at 10:53 was the highest of the game for the Pios, but not something they could sustain through the end of the first 20 minutes of play. The Boxers gained the advantage at 4:49 and never relinquished it, despite the Pios' best efforts.
Brian Smith and Brown each saw their highest scoring game of the season with Smith putting away 29 and Brown logging 22. Brown also saw a career-high in assists in a game with six, while Crawford logged his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Christian Pitcher was also a big contributor with 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Pioneers started with speed, scoring on eight consecutive drives to the basket at the beginning of the half. They took the lead at 18:48 and had extended it to 13 points by 10:53 but started to struggle under backcourt pressure from the Boxers, which resulted in 14 turnovers in the half and the most turnovers in a game so far this season. The Boxers finally evened the score at 6:36 off of free throws from Jared Catell and the teams exchanged the lead back and forth before Catell sunk a 3-pointer at 4:49 that started a 10-point run for Pacific. The game went into halftime in favor of the Boxers with a score of 61-53.
The Pios played catch-up to the Boxers for most of the second half, coming back from a 14-point deficit at 13:44 to bring the game to within one point at 3:03. Crawford made a layup at 5:37 that started an 11-point drive for the Pioneers, to which Brown contributed five points and one assist, while Smith and Pitcher combined for four points. A key 3-pointer from Holly Davis put the Boxers back out of range. Smith scored two more back-to-back layups to keep the Pios close, but too many turnovers in the last few minutes of play kept them from taking the lead and clinching the win.
The Pios had their best shooting game of the year, going 67.2 percent from the field with 74 points in the paint and 41 fastbreak points. They outrebounded the Boxers 38-31 and matched their third highest game for assists.
- Four of the five starters for the Pios hit double digits in points in the game
- Brown saw his eleventh start this game, going 9-13 in the field and only two points off his career-high score in a game
- With a career-high six assists in a game, Brown is now seventh in the conference for assists
- Ryan Cibull and Grant Stewart combined for 11 points
- Crawford had two blocks in the game, bringing him to the top of the leaderboard in the conference with an average of 2.5 a game
- He also leads the conference in rebounds
- Daelon Floyd logged one block against the Boxers
- Floyd is the second Lewis & Clark player in the top 10 in the conference for blocks
- The Pios had 27 turnovers, the highest in a game so far in the 2019-20 season
- Smith went 12-13 from the line, hitting 4-4 in three's
- He is in the top 10 in the conference for shooting percentage
- Nick Lombardi, Jack Henderson, Kody Kennedy and Brenden Patrick combined for 11 points, four rebounds and one steal
The Pioneers go on the road to take on the Whits next weekend, playing Whitman on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Whitworth on Sunday at 6 p.m.