Basketball News Release

THIS WEEK: Willamette (18-6, 12-4 NWC) finishes second for second straight year; Bearcats host Lewis & Clark is NWC playoff game on Thursday
As the second-place team in the Northwest Conference, the Bearcats won the No. 2 seed in the three-team NWC playoffs and will host third-place and No. 3 seeded Lewis & Clark at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Cone Field House. (Ticket prices are below) The winner of Thursday’s game will take on regular season NWC champion Whitworth on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Spokane, Wash. The Pirates, ranked 15th in last week’s top 25 poll, won their first NWC title since 1998. Saturday’s winner will earn an automatic berth into the 48-team NCAA Division III national tournament, which begins with first-round games on Thursday, March 6 at campus sites.
Feb. 27 Lewis & Clark (16-9, 11-5 NWC), 8 p.m. [NO RADIO]
Mar. 1 at Whitworth (22-3, 13-3 NWC), 8 p.m. [RADIO POSSIBLE]**
** Dependent on KBZY high school playoff schedule

LAST WEEK: James becomes Willamette’s all-time winningest coach
Feb. 18 at Pacific 69, Willamette 64 (OT)
Willamette went ice-cold from the field in the second half (19.0%), allowing Pacific to rally and force overtime. Then the Boxers hit 5 of 6 shots in overtime while WU made just 2 of 9 shots to outscore the visitors in the extra period, 12-7. Willamette had four players reach double figures in scoring, led by Ryan Hepp’s (Sr., Century HS) 18 points. He hit 10 of 11 free throws. Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) added 14 points to go over the 1,000-point plateau for his WU career. Pacific shot 44.1 percent from the field for the game, compared to just 35.4 percent for Willamette. The Boxers also out-rebounded WU, 42-30. The loss prevented the Bearcats from winning a piece of their first NWC championship since 1995.

Feb. 21 Willamette 59, George Fox 52
Head coach Gordie James tied the all-time Willamette record for most coaching victories with 277 as his Bearcats rallied to defeat George Fox at the Wheeler Sports Center. James, last year’s NWC Coach of the Year, moved his record to 277-158 in his 16th season with the Bearcats, equaling the total of wins by John Lewis, who was 277-239 in 20 years. But the Bruins led much of the way until the Bearcats rallied in the final 10 minutes. WU outscored GFU 34-24 in the second half. Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) and Miles Sandgathe (Jr., Pleasant Hill HS) paced the Bearcats, each contributing 15 points and eight rebounds. Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) added 11 points and four assists. Harold Sublett Jr. (So., Hayden HS, Phoenix, Ariz.) posted his second double-double of the year with 10 points and 13 rebounds. A huge discrepancy in rebounds — Willamette had 43 while George Fox had just 23 — was a major factor in the Bearcats’ comeback.

Feb. 22 at Willamette 71, Puget Sound 64
Head coach Gordie James became the all-time winningest basketball coach in Willamette history Saturday as the Bearcats came from behind to beat Puget Sound at Cone Field House. The victory gave James 278 wins over 16 seasons, surpassing Hall of Fame coach John Lewis, who won 277 games in 20 years from 1947-67. The win also clinched second place in the final NWC standings for the Bearcats. But Puget Sound almost crashed the party. The Loggers led 32-31 at the half and built a five-point lead early in the second period before the hosts, who are 11-0 at home this season, mounted a rally. The last tie of the game was at 51-51, following a three-point shot by UPS’ Chase Curtiss with 6:48 remaining. After that, the Bearcats pulled away thanks to the strong game of David Force (Jr., Lakeridge HS). Force scored on a three-point-play at the 4:02 mark to make the score 59-53. He later hit a short bank shot and converted a lay-in with 1:30 remaining to give WU an eight-point cushion at 63-55. Force ended up with a team-high 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. He hit 5 of 9 shots from the field and 8 of 9 free throws. The Bearcats also got 16 points and five assists from Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) and 11 points and seven boards from Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS). Willamette out-shot UPS from the field 43.6 percent to 40.8 percent. WU also converted 20 of 26 free throws (76.9%) while the Loggers canned 18 of 25 (72.0%) charity tosses.

NWC PLAYOFFS AND BEYOND: The three-team Northwest Conference playoffs begin Thursday, Feb. 27 with the No. 3 seed (Lewis & Clark) playing at the No. 2 seed (Willamette) at 7 p.m. The winner of that game will play at the No. 1 seed (Whitworth) at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 1 for the NWC’s automatic berth into the 48-team NCAA Division III national tournament. The national tournament field — which consists of 36 conference champions, seven runners-up from those conferences (Pool C) and five teams who are not in those 36 conferences (Pool B) — will be announced on Sunday, March 2. First-round games will be played Thursday, March 6 at campus sites.

NWC ALL-STARS: Point guard Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) and post Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) were both named on Monday to the NWC first-team all-star squad for the second straight year. Wing Miles Sandgathe (Jr., Pleasant Hill HS) was named to the second team. Willamette was the only school in the conference to land three players on the first and second teams.

1,000 POINT CLUB: Both point guard Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) and post Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) have eclipsed the 1,000-point threshold for their college careers this season. Though last Saturday’s games, Hepp has 1,074 points and Johnson has 1,031. Hepp reached the milestone in the Feb. 8 win over Lewis & Clark and Johnson joined him in the Feb. 18 overtime loss at Pacific.

NOTES: Willamette is shooting 69.1% percent from the free throw line this season, but has converted 78.3% (130-166) of its charity tosses in the past seven games … the Bearcats are 11-0 at home this season and have won 20 of the 22 periods in those games. Whitworth and Puget Sound each outscored Willamette in the first half at Cone Field House this year. Last year, WU was 8-2 in Cone, losing only to Lewis & Clark and Whitworth. The latter was an NWC playoff game.

NCAA STATISTICS: In the most recent NCAA Division III statistics (Feb. 16, 2003), Willamette was ranked 14th in the nation in scoring defense (62.0 ppg) and 18th in field goal percentage (49.2%).

NWC STATISTICS: Willamette leads the NWC in scoring defense (61.9 ppg) and turnover margin (+2.46). The Bearcats are No. 2 in scoring margin (+8.3) and field goal percentage (48.0%). Individually, Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) ranks second in the NWC in field goal percentage (56.0%), fourth in rebounding (7.3 rpg), fifth in scoring (16.0 ppg) and seventh in blocked shots (0.83). Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) ranks fourth in free throw percentage (81.4%), fifth in assists (4.25 apg), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.46:1), eighth in steals (1.33 spg), seventh in scoring (14.9 ppg) and ninth in field goal percentage (50.0%). Miles Sandgathe (Jr., Pleasant Hill HS) is first in three-point field goal percentage (51.0%), second in free throw percentage (87.2%), ninth in scoring (14.6 ppg) and 10th in field goal percentage (49.6%).

Whitworth (22-3) 13 3
WILLAMETTE (18-6) 12 4
Lewis & Clark (16-9) 11 5
Linfield (16-9) 9 7
Pacific (11-14) 8 8
Puget Sound (12-13) 7 9
Pacific Luth. (10-15) 7 9
Whitman (7-18) 4 12
George Fox (7-18) 1 15


12 Ryan Hepp* PG 5-11 175 Sr./Sr. Hillsboro, Ore. (Century)
14 Drew Miller PG/W 6-1 170 Fr./Fr. Keizer, Ore. (McNary)
20 B.J. Dobrkovsky W 6-3 195 Sr./Sr. Lebanon, Ore. (Lebanon)
23 Henry Greeley W 6-3 185 Fr./Fr. Seattle, Wash. (Lakeside)
24 Harold Sublett Jr.* PG/W 6-1 190 Jr./So. Phoenix, Ariz. (Hayden)
30 Michael Plank PG 6-0 160 Fr./Fr. Stockton, Calif. (Franklin)
32 P.J. McDevitt W 6-4 165 Jr./Jr. Sacramento, Calif. (Jesuit)
34 David Force W 6-3 195 Jr./Jr. Lake Oswego, Ore. (Lakeridge)
40 Marques Johnson* P 6-5 205 Sr./Sr. Portland, Ore. (Grant)
42 Brennan Garrelts* P 6-7 205 Fr./Fr. Roseburg, Ore. (Roseburg)
44 Miles Sandgathe* W 6-5 210 Jr./Jr. Springfield, Ore. (Pleasant Hill)
50 Ryan Rahlfs P 6-5 215 Jr./Jr. Bellevue, Wash. (E. Catholic)
52 Jacob Baran P 6-5 230 Fr./Fr. Beaverton, Ore. (Beaverton)
55 Joe Carmichael P 6-7 220 Gr./Sr. Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon)

* Probable starters

HEAD COACH: Gordie James (16th year)
ASSISTANTS: Wally Wing (16th year), Nelson Lomax (4th year),
Kip Ioane (2nd year), Shawn Gahr (1st year)

1987-88 18-10 10-0 1st
1988-89 15-12 9-3 1st
1989-90 25-6 10-2 1st (tie)
1990-91 19-10 8-4 3rd
1991-92 17-13 8-4 2nd
1992-93 29-4 11-1 1st (NAIA Division II National Champions)
1993-94 24-6 10-2 1st (tie)
1994-95 20-12 8-4 1st (tie)
1995-96 11-13 5-9 7th
1996-97 10-14 8-8 5th
1997-98 14-10 10-8 5th
1998-99 15-10 11-7 3rd (tie)
1999-00 15-10 9-7 4th
2000-01 10-14 7-9 5th
2001-02 18-8 12-4 2nd
2002-03 18-6 12-4 2nd (Becomes all-time winningest coach)
TOTALS #278-158 148-76

In the Feb. 22 win over Puget Sound, James set an all-time school record for wins by a Willamette head coach with 278. The previous record of 277 wins was held for 36 years by the late John Lewis. From 1947-67 (20 seasons), Lewis’ teams went 277-239 and won or shared seven conference titles. Lewis, a charter member to the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame (1991), also coached baseball at WU and served as athletics director.


22-23 Bud Pressley Classic Atherton, Calif.
22 Menlo vs. Willamette W, 86-83
22 Fresno Pacific vs. CSU-Hayward
23 Third-place game
23 WU vs. Fresno Pacific (Champ.) W, 66-58

6-7 John Lewis Holiday Classic Salem
6 Southern Oregon vs. Linfield
6 Western Baptist vs. Willamette W, 80-73
7 Western Baptist vs. Linfield
7 Southern Oregon vs. Willamette W, 87-66
13 Warner Pacific Salem W, 72-60
14 Western Oregon Monmouth L, 61-57
28-29 Pioneer Classic Hayward, Calif.
28 Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. WU L, 60-55
28 Pacific Lutheran vs. CSU-Hayward
29 Wis.-Whitewater vs. P. Lutheran
29 WU vs. CSU-Hayward W, 86-58

4 Pacific Lutheran* Salem W, 62-37
7 Lewis & Clark* (KBZY 1490) Portland W, 77-70 (OT)
10 Linfield* Salem W, 87-67
17 Whitman* (KBZY 1490) Walla Walla, Wash. W, 81-61
18 Whitworth* (KBZY 1490) Spokane, Wash. L, 66-57
21 Pacific* Salem W, 70-53
24 George Fox* (KBZY 1490) Salem W, 76-60
25 Pacific Lutheran* Tacoma, Wash. L, 57-54
31 Puget Sound* Tacoma, Wash. W, 61-58

7 Linfield* (KBZY 1490) McMinnville L, 83-71
8 Lewis & Clark* Salem W, 79-65
14 Whitman* Salem W, 62-49
15 Whitworth* (KBZY 1490) Salem W, 66-56
18 Pacific* Forest Grove L, 69-64 (OT)
21 George Fox* (KBZY 1490) Newberg W, 59-52
22 Puget Sound* Salem W, 71-64
27 NWC playoffs (L&C at WU) Salem 7:00

1 NWC Champ. (Winner at Whitworth) RADIO POSSIBLE Spokane, Wash. 8:00

* Northwest Conference game

TICKETS: Ticket prices for all Willamette regular season home games are:
$5 General Admission
$3 Students and seniors
Free Children 12 and under
To purchase tickets in advance, call (503) 370-6011.

WILLAMETTE ON THE RADIO: Selected Willamette University basketball games will be broadcast live on Salem radio station KBZY (1490 AM). The broadcasts begin at the conclusion of each women’s game. Mike Allegre will provide the play-by-play.

(503) 370-6063 Willamette University
(503) 949-9830 Cell