Pilots snap skid, trounce Walla Walla

By Ana Clyde | February 20, 2017 11:08pm

by Meah Ortiz / The Beacon

After losing 14 consecutive games, the University of Portland men’s basketball team beat the Walla Walla Wolves Monday evening at home, 96-58. The Pilots snapped their skid with every player in uniform scoring against the Wolves—four of them in double-digits— bringing their record up to 10-19 on the season.

This is the first win for the Pilots since Dec. 29.

“We needed to win, and we knew we could win,” sophomore guard Xavier Hallinan said, who started his third game in a row on Monday. “It was nice to see us actually execute and do what we needed to do for a full game instead of parts of a game.”

Offensive efficiency and balance led to the blowout win for Portland.

They claimed a double-digit lead, and never lost it, less than 10 minutes into the first half. Sophomore Jazz Johnson had 13 points in 16 minutes. Hallinan, who scored 8 points, and juniors D’Marques Tyson (9) and Gabe Taylor (7) also helped propel the home squad to a 25-point advantage by the end of the first half, 56-31.

Pilots continued to build on their dominance after the break, leading as many as 41 points. This was an expected result against NAIA’s Walla Walla, who ended their season on Monday with a 3-26 record.

Other players who haven’t seen as much time on the court got minutes in the second half, including Alec Monson, who scored two back-to-back three-pointers and finished the game with a layup.

“We needed this as kind of a confidence boost for our team, with the struggles that we’ve had,” assistant coach Bob Cantu said. “(With) some of our shooters seeing the ball go through the net, and being able to do some things that they did tonight, hopefully it will carry to BYU.”

The Pilots will play again Thursday, Feb. 23 for senior night to face the Cougars before traveling to San Diego for the regular season finale on Saturday, Feb. 25.