Willamette remains unbeaten at home with 70-53 win over Pacific

SALEM — Senior post Marques Johnson scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds Tuesday to lead Willamette to a 70-53 Northwest Conference men’s basketball victory over visiting Pacific.

The win kept the Bearcats (11-3 overall, 5-1 NWC) unbeaten at home in six games, while Pacific (7-8, 4-3) saw its winning streak snapped at four games.

The two teams battled through a defensive-minded first half and the Bearcats took a 29-22 lead into intermission. But Pacific scored the first seven points of the second half to knot the score and was still within three points (40-37) following a Dan Lumpkin lay-in with 12:38 to play, before the hosts took charge. Willamette then reeled off seven straight points.

The Bearcats also got 16 points and four assists from point guard Ryan Hepp and 14 points and five assists from wing Miles Sandgathe.

Willamette shot 54.0 percent from the field for the game, compared to just 42.6 percent for Pacific.

The Boxers were led by guard Rahim Tufts, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half. Joe Van Domelen added 10 points for Pacific and Lumpkin chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds.

Pacific out-rebounded the Bearcats handily in the first period (21-14), but the Bearcats turned the tables in the second half, out-boarding the visitors 19-11.