Evergreen spoils SMU's early enthusiasm in 97-85 win
November 9, 2007
LACEY, Wash. - Bill Richardson of St. Martin's scored the first basket of the game, a dunk that brought SMU fans to their feet and sent the signal that his team was ready to play. Evergreen answered in the form of Marcus Whittaker, who's equally impressive three point shot had the Evergreen fans present cheering. So began the season's showdown between the two local four years.
Richardson scored five of his team's first 12 points in the first three minutes of the game to bring the Saints to a 12-3 lead.
To counter SMU's attack, Evergreen had the quickness of Nate Menafee and David Howard as weapons. The two guards combined for 46 points, leading Evergreen to a 97-85 win in the exhibition game.
The Geoducks fast style of play suits the team. "We have some speed on this team and we want to keep the game up-tempo", noted head coach Jeff Drinkwine. "Our early season conditioning modeled game pace".
Evergreen struggled with turnovers and despite some valiant attempts to gain some ground on the Saints the team was behind 44-41 at halftime.
St. Martin's came out charging again at the beginning of the second half and opened a 50-45 lead on two free throws.
After three lead changes, Marcus Whittaker's 3-pointer gave Evergreen a 59-57 lead, sparking a 9-2 run to take control of the game.
Evergreen's ball possession improved in the second half. After 12 turnovers in the first half, Evergreen had nine in the second period.
Both teams had their share of fouls in tonight's game as a total of 55 fouls were called and 74 free throws were attempted. Four players fouled out.
In the second half St. Martin's had a string of missed shots and turnovers in which David Howard and Nate Menafee ran up the score for the Geoducks.
Five minutes left, an 82-73 lead and Evergreen went on a 7-0 run to put away the win.
Evergreen shot 66 percent (22-33) in the second half after shooting 44 percent (16-36) in the first half.
Menafee led all scorers with 27 points, 14 of those coming in the second half.
Returner Howard had 19 points in the game. Newcomer Michael Ward, who was thoroughly enjoying the game turning in the Geoducks favor, added 15 points to the board. '06-'07 seasons second highest scorer, Marcus Whittaker, had 11 points and sophomore Julio Feliciano had 6 points and 10 total rebounds.
Richardson led the Saints with 22 points and was one of four players on his team in double figures. Brendan Campbell added 18, Jake Linton had 15 and Tyler Nixon had 12.
Saint Martin's made just 30 percent of their shots in the second half, sinking just 10 of 33 attempts.
Coach Drinkwine, who assisted at St. Martin's last season, was visibly happy following the game. "We had too many turnovers the first half, but we re-grouped during the halftime break". Adding, "The team was excited to play and once things turned our way it only motivated us more".
Evergreen is at home this weekend with a pair of non-conference games. Friday the team hosts Pacific University (OR) and Saturday Whitman University. Both games begin at 7:00 PM.