College Sports

Spencer’s 21 not enough as Evergreen men leave Tacoma with 0-5 start

Coach Tim Malroy is sort of in the no man’s land part of early-season analysis about The Evergreen State College men’s basketball squad.

He has seen the Geoducks lose in just about every way possible in the early going. But he sees signs of a major breakthrough soon.

Maybe it had something to do with the late-game run the Geoducks put forth in their 71-63 non-conference loss to Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday night at Memorial Fieldhouse.

Trailing 60-50 with less than six minutes remaining, Evergreen (0-5) went on a 7-0 run in 45 seconds.

“I thought they ran their stuff well,” Lutes coach Steve Dickerson said. “They didn’t get beat at the free throw line (like Friday night). But we rebounded well with them.

“I am impressed with the job Tim is doing.”

Shawn Spencer’s inside bucket cut PLU’s lead to 64-61 at the 1:17 mark. All the Geoducks needed was one more stop to tie the game.

But Jared Christy hit a fallaway 3-pointer from the top of the key for the Lutes with 48.6 seconds remaining to put the game away.

Brandon Lester led the Lutes (2-1) with 19 points. Christy added 18, and Dylan Foreman added 12.

An early-season revelation for the Geoducks is the emerging play of Spencer, the 6-foot-10 product out of Cascade Christian.

Spencer played two seasons at Big Bend Community College, then transferred to Eastern Washington University as a walk-on.

That did not work out, so he came back to Puyallup. Former Geoducks coach Chris Mosley recommended that Spencer reach out to Malroy about a roster spot at Evergreen.

Geoducks point guard Jarrick Mitchell credited Spencer’s interior defense. The big man also led all scorers with 21 points.

“We are still trying to get used to each other to figure out what works.” Mitchell said. “If we pick it up on the defensive end, the offense will take care of itself.”

After the game, Malroy admitted he “learned a lot” about his team in the fifth game of the season.

“I had questions about if we could man up on a spread offense – and we did that,” Malroy said.