Willamette resumes popular John Lewis Holiday Classic this weekend

After a four-year hiatus, largely due to scheduling conflicts, Willamette University has brought back the popular John Lewis Holiday Classic men’s basketball tournament. This year’s tournament will be held Dec. 6-7 in Cone Field House.

The tourney opens Friday with Southern Oregon (1-6) and Linfield (2-0) facing off at 6 p.m. Western Baptist (2-5) and Willamette (2-0) meet at 8 p.m. On Saturday, WBC and Linfield play at 6 p.m., with SOU and WU going head to head at 8 p.m.

The tournament began in 1974, the year after former WU head coach John Lewis died. Willamette has won 15 titles, including the last two in 1997 and 1995.

Lewis coached basketball at Willamette from 1947-67. His Bearcat teams won or shared seven Northwest Conference titles in 19 seasons and posted a record of 277-239.

Lewis is the all-time winningest coach at Willamette in both basketball and baseball (276-264), but he could be surpassed in each sport this school year. WU basketball coach Gordie James is 262-152 in his 16th season. Bearcat baseball coach David Wong will begin his 13th season this spring with a record of 266-208-3.

Ticket prices for the tournament are: $7 general admission; $5 students and seniors; and free for children 12 and under.