Eagles edge out Pilots 76-70 in exhibition game for disaster relief in Puerto Rico
In an exhibition game to support disaster relief efforts by the American Red Cross for Hurricane Maria on Sunday, the Portland Pilots lost to the Eastern Washington Eagles in a tough 76-70 loss.
Philipp Hartwich was the top performer for the Pilots, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds. The Porter brothers also had solid performances with Malcolm Porter scoring 13 points and Franklin Porter scoring 12 points.
“I thought we brought good energy,” said Terry Porter, head coach of the men’s team. “Offensively we got to get a little bit sharper...defense is an area where we need to clean up a little bit.”
“We played hard,” Jojo Walker said, a freshman point guard who saw his first college basketball action tonight and is also a Carolina, Puerto Rico native.
All proceeds from the game and donations from will go towards supporting Hurricane Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastating Hurricane Maria. The UP community came out to support those affected, including Walker, who is from Puerto Rico and also has family dealing with the impact of the natural disaster.
“My teammates, my school, everybody had my back,” Walker said. “It means a lot to me.”
“I really can’t thank them enough,” Porter said in regards to the response from the University of Portland and its community. “It’s great to be able to show him some support and a little and raise some funds to support the cause.
The Pilots never led at any point the in the first half, with Eagles holding the lead for 16:18 and being tied for 3:15. Despite this the first half was still a tightly contested matchup, with EWU never holding a lead greater than eight.
Eastern Washington took advantage of the three point shot in the first half, with the Eagles going 9-18 from deep in just the first half. Senior center Benas Griciunas led the way for the Eagles in the first half, scoring 9 points and going 3-4 from the three point line. He finished the game with 18 points and 9 boards.
The Pilots struggled in the first half to find a rhythm offensively. They shot only 39.3% from the field and had to work to find the open man thanks to a suffocating Eastern Washington defense. Freshman forward Tahirou Diabate was the leading scorer for the Pilots at end of the first with 8 points going 3-3 from the field and 2-2 from the three point line. The first half ended with the Eagles leading 39-33
The Pilots came out with more energy in the second half, getting jump-started by an alley-oop pass from freshman guard Marcus Shaver Jr. to Hartwich. Thanks to a D’Marques Tyson three, they took the lead for the first time in the second half with 11:48 left on the clock. The lead didn’t last long, however. The Eagles took back the lead soon after.
The Eagles led 70-65 with 1:15 left in the second half when Franklin Porter hit a three to cut EWU’s lead to 2. The Eagles responded quickly though with a fastbreak layup on the other end. The Eagles kept extending their lead, and the Pilots were forced to take hard contested threes to try and keep up. The Pilots couldn’t close the gap.
This is the first of two exhibition games before the Pilots start the regular season against Portland State on Nov. 11. They will play Lewis and Clark on Nov. 4 in the Chiles Center.