NORTHWEST 86, GEORGE FOX 81: Offensive Board Strength Boosts Eagles by Bruins
NEWBERG, Ore. – Led by 6-8 center Greg Peters' double-double of 21 points and 22 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive boards, the Northwest University Eagles powered past the George Fox University Bruins 86-81 in a non-conference men's basketball game Saturday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym.
Northwest, an NAIA and Cascade Conference team, won the battle of the glass only 47-43 but had a significant advantage in second-chance opportunities, collecting 18 caroms on the offensive end that enabled them to take 10 more shots (75-65) than George Fox. The teams played virtually even in almost every other category.
The first half was close throughout, with three ties and seven lead changes. The Bruins scored the first two baskets of the game on layups by Rich Smith and Cole Whitehurst, giving them their largest lead of the half. The Eagles' biggest lead was six points at 24-18 with seven minutes left after a putback by Peters of a missed free throw. The Bruins stayed close and tied it 34-34 on a three-pointer by Cam Rier with 1:29 left, then the teams traded layups by Rich Skillman for Northwest and Stephen Wiseley for George Fox for a 36-36 deadlock at the break.
Peters had his double-double by halftime with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Skillman had eight points off the bench. Smith led the Bruins in the opening stanza with 10 points and Rier added eight in reserve.
George Fox again scored the first four points to open the second half on back-to-back goals by Smith, but Stedman Richardson canned a three to get Northwest going. Three-pointers by Tyson Christie and Jordan Call eventually put the Eagles ahead for good 46-44 with 16:17 left, and they extended the lead to nine twice, the last at 65-56 on a Call layup with 9:09 to go.
The Bruins fought back and twice closed within a single point, the last following two Whitehurst free throws that made it 73-72 with 2:44 remaining. Skillman made a jumper, then stole the ball and made a layup to get the margin back up to five with two minutes left. After a three by Mike Taylor brought the Bruins within two, Peters got yet another offensive board and basket for a 79-75 Northwest edge with 1:09 to go, and the Eagles hit seven of 10 free throws the rest of the way to keep the Bruins at bay.
Smith led a quintet of Bruins in double figures with 22 points, followed by Whitehurst with 18 (including 10-10 from the line), Taylor with 13, Wiseley with 11, and Rier with 10. Whitehurst had a team-high nine rebounds, and Wiseley passed out eight assists.
Joining Peters in the scoring parade for the Eagles were Skillman with 19 and Call and Richardson with 10 apiece. Christie handed out five assists.
NEXT: George Fox (0-2) will play its next 10 games on the road, starting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Ore. The Bruins will not be at home again until their fourth Northwest Conference game of the season on Jan. 8 vs. Pacific University ... Northwest (4-1) returns home to host Walla Walla University Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.