Wildcats drop first two NWC games

Joe Stuart, For the Review

The men’s basketball team dropped their first two league games on the road this weekend against Whitman College and Whitworth University.

The Linfield Wildcats (4-3, 0-2) travelled to Walla Walla on Friday to take on the Whitman Missionaries (6-0, 2-0) where they lost in a blowout 89-53.

Linfield initially kept up with the Missionaries, with the game tied up at 35 at halftime.

Shortly into the second half however, Whitman took off on a 19-4 run, putting the Wildcats into a hole they could not dig themselves out of.

Linfield was outscored 54-18 in the second half. After shooting 40 percent from the field in the first half, the Wildcats could not get a shot to fall after the break, with their field-goal percentage dropping to 27 in the second while only making one of 14 shooting from three-point range.

Turnovers were also a major issue during the game, with the Wildcats combining for 26 turnovers as a team, a season high.

Guard Kyle Maloof, ’17, led the ’Cats with 12 points, eight rebounds and a block.

It was a similar story the next night against the Whitworth Pirates (6-0, 2-0). Linfield led Whitworth at the end of the first half 27-26, but couldn’t keep up in the second half when the Pirates began to pull away.

Linfield only shot 30 percent during the game, compared to Whitworth’s 42 percent shooting.

Linfield was forced to play catch-up from downtown during the second half, but to no avail, only making two of 16 as a team.

Maloof led the team again with 15 points. Center Mason Rodby, ’17, also contributed with 14 points and six rebounds.

Maloof leads the team so far this season with 15.3 points per game.

Whitworth and Whitman finished in first and second place in the Northwest Conference last season. Whitworth ended the season with a record of 15-1 in NWC play and 25-4 overall, while Whitman finished 14-2 in the conference and 20-6, overall, respectively.

The Wildcats will look to bounce back when they take on UC-Santa Cruz (1-7) on Sunday the 13th in front of their home fans for the first time this season. Tip off is scheduled for 5 p.m.