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Too Close for Comfort 89-88 Win for Evergreen

Story Courtesy of Northwest U Sports Information

February 3, 2009

KIRKLAND, Wash. - Northwest U's Greg George missed a put back shot with 2 seconds remaining as #22 Evergreen State College held on for a 89-88 Cascade Conference win tonight.

The Geoducks have four wins in a row and move to the top of the Cascade Conference with an 11-4 record.

After leading by just one point at the half, Evergreen improved their shooting in the 2nd period but were unable to shake the persistant Eagles of Northwest University.

In a game that would 17 ties and 24 lead changes, Evergreen would lead 11-10 with 14:58 left in the first half. NU's Greg George would put NU up 12-11 on his jumper but two free throws by ESC's Nick Moore would give the lead back to the Geoducks, 13-12 (13:05).

No team could gain the upper hand as the first half would go back and forth until Evergreen's Michael Ward would give his team the lead, 43-38 with 2:29 remaining until halftime. Greg George's offensive tip-in would end the scoring and pull NU to within one point, 43-42, with 1:14 to go as the half would end with ESC holding on to the slim, one point margin.

The second half was more of the same as the game would flow back and forth once again.

Jose Feliciano's jumper with 16:50 left in the game would give ESC a 54-51 lead. Two free throws by Northwest's Blake Solomon would pull NU to within one point at 62-61.

For awhile both teams hit a cold spell as neither team would score a point for the next two minutes until the Eagles Jason Waltman put an end to the scoring drought with his offensive tip-in to give NU the temporary lead at the 10:59 mark.

Six seconds later, Nate Menefee would put the Geoducks back into the lead with his jumper. More of the same would follow as the lead would change hands until Greg Peters two free throws would give NU a four point lead, 81-77, with 4:35 to go in the contest. The Geoducks would go on an 8-0 run to take an 85-81 lead as ESC's Michael Ward would tip the ball in with 2:23 remaining.

With the score 87-86 Evergreen, the Eagles with the ball, ESC would force a turnover as Ward would steal the ball only to see NU's freshman guard, Rich Skillman steal it right back and score on a drive to the basket giving NU a 88-87 lead with 41 seconds left.

Evergreen's Feliciano missed his jumper but Menefee grabbed the offensive rebound and found Feliciano for a 12 foot jumper near the top of the key with 10.5 seconds to go in the game.

After a NU timeout, Eddie Coulson's driving shot would miss, but George would grab the rebound only to see his shot miss the mark as ESC's Feliciano grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded.

Four Northwest U. (11-13, 5-10 CCC) players were in double figures led by junior Blake Solomon who finished with 18 points; Rich Skillman and sophomore Greg George each scored 18.

Evergreen (15-7, 11-4 CCC) also had four players in double figures. Junior Menefee (Tacoma, Wash.) scored a game high 23 points and grabbed 7 rebounds; senior Moore (Graham, Wash.) scored 19 points; Ward (Sr., Kansas City, MO.) dropped in 18 points; and Feliciano (Jr., Tacoma, Wash.) contributed 12 points for the Geoducks.

ESC shot 51.5% from 2-point range and was held to 28% shooting from beyond the 3-point arc (4 for 14). The Geoducks out rebounded NU 33-31 which included 11 offensive rebounds.

Northwest U. and Evergreen State both head to Eugene, Oregon to take on Northwest Christian University this weekend. NU plays NCU at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and ESC follows up with their game with NCU on Saturday at the same time.