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GFU hoops round-up: Women finding their groove in conference play, men drop some close games

PHOTO COURTESY OF GFU -  GFU women's basketball is on a four-game win streak in conference play, the latest a 97-46 drubbing of Lewis & Clark.

The No. 14 George Fox women's basketball team was in unfamiliar territory after a 73-54 loss to unranked Whitman on Jan. 12. It was the Bruins' first double-digit loss of the season and just their third overall.

Since that point, the Bruins (16-3, 9-1 Northwest Conference) have been on a tear.

After beating Linfield 95-61 on Jan. 15 and Willamette 75-49 on Jan. 19, George Fox extended its win streak to four with a 67-60 road win at Puget Sound on Friday and a 97-46 beat down of Lewis & Clark on Saturday.

The first of last week's victories required the Bruins to fend off a comeback in hostile territory. A blistering start in the first quarter saw GFU jump out to a 20-9 lead after one against the Loggers on the road. A 10-4 run at the beginning of the second quarter gave them a 30-13 lead, but Puget Sound brought the game within 14 at the half.

The third quarter turned in favor of the Loggers, who held an 18-12 advantage in the penultimate frame that included a 15-2 run at one point. GFU's lead was down to six in the fourth quarter before it regained a double-digit advantage and never looked back, pulling out a seven-point victory in the end.

Tavin Headings led the Bruins in scoring with 19 points. GFU shot just over 43 percent compared to a near 35 percent for the Loggers. Puget Sound was able to win the rebounding battle, however, picking up a 48-32 advantage on the glass. Somehow, though, GFU controlled the paint, scoring 40 in the key compared to 18 for Puget Sound.PHOTO COURTESY OF GFU - Senior forward Dylan Hamlett attacks the rim in GFU's 94-84 loss to Lewis & Clark on Saturday.

The Lewis & Clark game was pure domination from the jump. GFU opened the game on an 8-2 run and led 19-6 after the first quarter. An offensive showcase in the second quarter, which the Bruins won 28-11, led to a 47-17 halftime advantage.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Bruins poured it on. They shot nearly 67 percent in the third quarter and out-scored the Pioneers 27-17.

With a number of its substitutes in the game in the fourth, they held a 23-12 advantage to finish the game off with a 51-point win – a season-best.

Lewis & Clark shot just over 36 percent and committed 28 turnovers. The Bruins scored 34 points off of those turnovers and managed 22 assists on the night.

Leading the way in the scoring department was Headings, who dropped 20 for GFU.

Next on the docket for the Bruins, who sit atop the Northwest Conference, is a pair of games at Pacific on Feb. 1 and at home against Pacific Lutheran on Feb. 2. After that, a three-game road trip awaits the team before it ends the season at home against Willamette on Feb. 15.

Men's team searching for answers

After an impressive start to its season and a handful of solid performances against the nation's top teams, the George Fox men are struggling as of late, losers of five of their last six.

The latest two games were a 79-78 overtime victory over Puget Sound and a 94-84 loss at the hands of Lewis & Clark. At this crucial stage in the season, the Bruins are 11-8, 5-5 in conference, sitting in the middle of the pack.

Clutch play in the overtime period sealed a much-needed victory for the Bruins on the road against the Loggers. A late jumper by Mason Green-Richards ended up providing a permanent lead as the Bruins got a stop on the final possession later on.

The game began fast for GFU as it got out to an 11-2 lead early. Both teams went on runs of their own in the first half, but the Bruins held a 36-29 advantage at the break.

Runs by both sides continued into the second half as the game slowly shifted in favor of the Loggers. Both teams missed three-pointers in the game's final moments, so it went to overtime.

Ryan Lacey scored 19 to lead the Bruins. His team was efficient on the offensive end, committing just nine turnovers compared to 17 for Puget Sound. In a game as back-and-forth as this one was, that low turnover count is a good sign for Coach Maco Hamilton's team.

But the Bruins followed up their big road win with a disappointing home loss to Lewis & Clark. The Pioneers started out with an 11-4 advantage and mostly controlled the game from that point, holding off comeback attempts by GFU throughout the second half.

The Bruins did retake the lead with about nine minutes remaining, however, rattling off a 20-7 run in the process. Lewis & Clark settled down, though, and held on to a lead until it reached a 10-point final margin.

Green-Richards had 21 points for the Bruins, supplemented by 18 from Lacey. The area in which GFU struggled the most was bench points, where they were out-scored 50-16 on the night.

Looking ahead, the Bruins face the same opponents as the women's team on Feb. 1 and 2. GFU currently sits in fourth place in the Northwest Conference behind Linfield (14-5, 7-3), No. 10 Whitworth (16-3, 8-2) and No. 3 Whitman (18-1, 10-0).

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