Willamette, Linfield win John Lewis Holiday Classic openers

SALEM — Seniors Marques Johnson and Ryan Hepp helped Willamette (3-0) stay undefeated on the young season Friday night as the Bearcats held off Western Baptist 80-73 in the first round of the John Lewis Holiday Classic in Cone Field House.

Johnson finished the game with 25 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and blocked two WBC shots in the final four minutes. Hepp had a game-high 27 points and dished out seven assists. WU’s Miles Sandgathe made all three of his field goals and all four of his free throws to finish with 10 points.

The visiting Warriors, who fell to 2-6, got 23 points and nine rebounds from Eric Fiegi and 22 points and seven assists from Marty Reid.

Western Baptist out-shot the Bearcats from the field (48.1-43.9) and free throw line (71.4-67.9), but the hosts had just eight turnovers compared to 19 for the Warriors.

On Saturday night, Western Baptist and Linfield play at 6 p.m., and Southern Oregon and Willamette play in the tournament finale at 8 p.m.

SALEM — Linfield had five players score in double figures Friday night to defeating Southern Oregon 99-94 in the first round of the John Lewis Holiday Classic men’s basketball tournament at Willamette University.

The victory kept the Wildcats undefeated on the season at 3-0, while the Raiders fell to 1-7.

Matt Larson paced the winners with a game-high 22 points. He hit five of eight field goals and 11 of 12 free throws. Jeff Dunn added 15 points in just 16 minutes and 6-foot, 11-inch Nick Fusare had 13 points and six rebounds.

The game was tied at 67-67 midway through the second period before Linfield went on a 12-0 spurt to take control of the game. The Wildcats never led by fewer than four points the rest of the way.

The Raiders were led by Ryan Gabel, who had 21 points. Chris Porter added 18 points on six of seven shooting from the floor.
Linfield hit 24 of 32 free throws on the night, while Southern connected on just 13 of 22 attempts.