By Katie Patton in Sports
Clark’s men’s basketball team (21-6) dominated Treasure Valley (14-13) in the first round of the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament.
The Penguins held the lead throughout the entire game, and steamrolled the Chukars 74-30.
Treasure Valley was unable to score for the first four minutes of regulation, and Clark was able to keep them to three points for 12 minutes. The Penguins finished the first half leading 36-14.
“These guys didn’t want to settle,” said Head Coach Alex Kirk. “They prepared a lot this week, and it shows. All of their hard work has really paid off.”
The defense kept it’s pressure on for the full 40 minutes. Clark had 41 rebounds, five blocked shots, 12 steals and forced 20 turnovers.
Clark’s Bryan Berg and Evan Garrison led their team with 13 points each, with Garrison contributing five assists.
“We came out here not looking to score,” Berg said. “We knew that if we came out with a strong defense that our offense would come into alignment. Our defense really set the tone.”
The last team to lose by this many points in the NWAC tournament was Clark in 1970. The Penguins are now on the other side of that statistic.
Penguin Hayden Hall knows the importance of setting the standard for the other teams within a tournament. “The score is not going to be unseen. Teams are going to see the statement that we made, and know that we are here to play,” he said. “We call it stepping on the gas, shots just continued to fall.”
The Penguins will take on Bellevue College Sunday at 4 p.m. The Bulldogs defeated Umpqua 69-52 on Saturday night.
“(Bellevue) is probably one of the best teams in the tournament,” Kirk said. “They are good, but our guys have come in prepared today, and I know they will tomorrow.”