Three Bruins set career scoring highs as the Bruins overcome a second-half lull to improve to 4-1 on the season

Excelling in new head coach Maco Hamilton’s fast-paced system, George Fox has jumped out to big halftime leads three times in its first five games.

That was certainly the case Nov. 26 against Corban, as the Bruins shot 56.7 percent from the field to race to a 58-37 advantage at the break.

Unfortunately, George Fox then relaxed and lost its focus in the second half, allowing the Warriors to claw their way back into the game. by: SETH GORDON - Top scorer - Senior guard Spencer Bolte scored a career-high 27 points in the Bruins' win versus Corban Nov. 26 at Miller Gymnasium.

Corban went on a 20-8 midway through the period, trimming the lead to 10 points at 84-74 with 5:18 to play, but the Bruins righted the ship, scoring seven consecutive points to wrap up a 95-82 victory at Miller Gym.

“We tell them they have to stay focused and work hard, but sometimes we just come out in these lulls,” Hamilton said. “We’re still working on some things, playing with mental focus for prolonged periods.”

In the first 20 minutes, George Fox displayed just how good it can be when things are going according to plan.

One of the keys offensively is efficient three-point shooting, which opens up the interior of the defense for penetration and post ups, and Jason Martin opened the game on fire, hitting four triples en route to 17 first-half points.

The Bruins hit eight of their 17 attempts from beyond the arc in the opening half and senior guard Spencer Bolte took advantage, attacking the lane to the tune of 18 first-half points.

“I felt like all their guards were smaller, so I felt like I could get that first step and get by them and, fortunately, shots were going in,” Bolte said. “It felt good out there.”

George Fox also addressed the problems it had in the turnover and rebounding department in its previous contest, a frenetic 108-99 loss to Concordia-Portland.

The Bruins led by as many as 29 in the second half before getting a bit lackadaisical, especially on the defensive end.

With its back up against the wall Corban got more aggressive and physical to get back in the game, especially on the glass and basically evened out the rebounding battle by the end of the game.

“We started looking more toward the refs because they were playing way more physical toward the end of the game as they were getting desperate,” Bolte said. “We can’t do that.”

Martin cooled down a bit in the second half, finishing 6-for-12 on three-pointers to finish with a career high 25 points, which trailed only Bolte’s 27, which was also a career high.

“With the numbers he’s putting up, if he keeps playing like this, he could be one of the best players in the league,” Hamilton said of Bolte. “He’s going to have a great year, there’s no question.”

Transfer Eli Graham also set a new personal scoring mark with 17 and improved to 21-for-21 on free throws this season by draining all eight attempts from the charity stripe versus Corban (3-3).

“Basketball is such a long season that you have to keep things in perspective,” Hamilton said. “We scored 95 points, we won, yet you don’t feel satisfied. So that’s a good thing.”

The Bruins offense didn’t skip a beat despite missing newcomer Jonny Howard, who sat out the game with a concussion, and senior forward Sean Atkins, who played limited minutes with a hamstring problem after pouring in 36 points in the loss to Concordia.

The team is certainly enjoying the freedom that Hamilton’s system allows, perhaps aiding in what has been a smooth transition considering that the first-year coach wasn’t hired until late summer.

“In a sense, we’re playing five-on-five pickup basketball, where if you want to shoot, you’re going to get the shot,” Bolte said. “A lot of guys like that because we don’t have anyone who’s not allowed to shoot the ball. If you’re a three-point shooter and want to hang out deep, you’re allowed to, unless you miss 10 or 15, but right now it’s really a free-for-all.”

The Bruins (4-1) hosted Northwest Christian Tuesday (results unavailable at press time) and will tip off at home against Linfield at 8 p.m. Saturday in the second contest of a women’s-men’s doubleheader.

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