Hepp dominates in WU's 87-67 win over Linfeild

SALEM — Senior point guard Ryan Hepp had game-highs of 24 points and six assists Saturday as Willamette remained undefeated in Northwest Conference play with an 87-67 win over Linfield in Cone Field House.
The win was the Bearcats’ fourth straight, improving their records to 9-2 overall and 3-0 in the NWC. Linfield fell to 8-3 and 1-1.

Willamette led by just five points at the half, but went on a 16-2 run in the first 6:20 of the second half. When Ryan Rahlfs converted a reverse lay-up on the baseline with 12:10 remaining, the Bearcats garnered their first 20-point lead of the night at 62-42.

WU shot 59.7 percent for the game, compared to 47.2 percent for Linfield, which was playing without all-star point guard O.J. Gulley.

Linfield was led by Jeff Dunn, who scored 17 points. Travis Jones added 10 points off the bench for the Wildcats. Willamette’s defense stifled Linfield’s 6-foot, 11-inch center Nick Fusare, the MVP of the recent Cactus Jam tournament. Fusare finished with just five points and four rebounds.

The Bearcats got another solid game from junior wing Miles Sandgathe, who scored 17 points and dished out four assists. WU also got plenty of help off the bench. David Force had 11 points and Rahlfs added 10 on 5 of 6 shooting from the field. Also, B.J. Dobrkovsky, hampered by an injury most of the season, had eight points, five rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes of play.

Hepp converted 11 of 18 shots from the field, following up on his heroics from Tuesday night when he led the Bearcats to a come-from-behind overtime win at Lewis & Clark. In that game, Hepp was 10 of 18 from the floor and scored 24 points.

The Bearcats are now 5-0 at home this season and have won all 10 halves.

Willamette is idle Saturday night, while Linfield hosts Lewis & Clark.