Force leads Bearcats past Warner Pacific 72-60

SALEM — David Force scored nine of the Willamette University’s final 11 points as the Bearcats pulled away from Warner Pacific College late in the game to remain undefeated with a 72-60 win.

With just over three minutes to play, Force hit a leaner in the lane, then followed that up seconds later by hitting one of two free throws. Force hit four more free throws and another driving lay-up as the Bearcats (5-0) hung on against Warner Pacific (8-3).

Despite playing without two starters, the Bearcats jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first half behind Harold Sublett and Miles Sandgathe. Sublett, making his first start of the season for the injured B.J. Dobrkovsky, scored seven of his nine points in the opening minutes. Sandgathe and Ryan Hepp each added eight in the first half as Willamette got its lead up to 29-13 midway through the first stanza.

But Warner Pacific’s Nick Hudson hit three straight three pointers late in the half as the Knights pulled to within 37-31 at halftime.

The game stayed close for most of the second half. Marques Johnson gave the Bearcats a 55-47 lead, converting a pass from Sandgathe with just under ten minutes to play. But the Bearcats were unable to pull away until Force’s late game burst.

Hepp, Johnson and Sandgathe all had 14 points to lead the Bearcats. Force added 11 and Sublett chipped in with nine.

Johnson and Sublett each grabbed six boards as the Bearcats had a 26-23 advantage on the glass.

Matt Segrin scored 18 points and grabbed ten rebounds to lead Warner. Hudson added 11 points, nine in the first half.

The Bearcats shot a stellar 53 percent from the field while the Knights shot 50 percent.