Men’s Basketball Gears Up for the Start of Conference Play
By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team is settling into the new season’s groove. Going into winter break, the team has earned a 4-3 record, good for fourth place within the Northwest Conference (first place is a tie between University of Puget Sound, Whitman College and Whitworth College with 3-2 records). How will this start carry them into their eight games over winter break, where they will face some of their toughest competition?
One of the biggest factors in their success will be for the Pioneers’ veteran players. One of these players is Jason Luhnow (’16), who leads the team in points per game (14.3), assists per game (4.3) and rebounds per game (8.3). He is among team leaders such as Serg Ovchinnikov (’16), Cannen Roberson (’17) and Carl Appleton (’15), who have stat lines of 11.5/1.0/3.7, 10.8/1.8/7.0 and 10.3/1.5/7.3, respectively. Three players have already had double-doubles so far (Luhnow, Roberson and Bradley Carter (’15)), and they look to add more throughout their winter break games. The bench’s contributions have also been a boon to the team’s prowess, averaging 20 points per game through the first seven games. These games have produced great stats for the team, and they will need to bring these positive trends into the start of the conference season.
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After the first two games of the break (road vs. University of Portland and home vs. Portland Bible College), the Pios will jump head first into the Northwest Conference season with their next six games. Key matchups include those against the three teams currently tied for first: University of Puget Sound, Whitman College and Whitworth College. Whitman and Whitworth rank second and third in points per game for the conference with 88.6 and 80 ppg, respectively (LC ranks fifth). Whitworth also leads the conference in shooting percentage for two- and three-point shots. The Pios’ need to reach a consistent pace offensively in order to beat these teams, which will hopefully come once the team settles into the consistency of league play.
A home advantage will form a key part of the men’s basketball team’s groove, as five of these games (Portland Bible College, Whitman College, Whitworth College, Pacific Lutheran University, and Willamette University) are at the Pamplin Sports Center. The winter break games have given the Pios’ an opportunity to mend their issues and gear up for the long haul of the NWC season.
Even if you cannot attend the games, live video steams are available here. Video coverage will start with the first conference game, and continues throughout the rest of the regular season in the spring semester.
Peter Melling is a Sports Editor at the Pioneer Log. He likes to write stories about athletes within the Lewis & Clark community, upcoming games and seasons, and the inner workings of the athletic department. You can follow him on Twitter @PMell2293.