Bearcats fall at Pacific in overtime

FOREST GROVE - Freshman forward Joe Van Domelen scored eight of his team-high 16 points in the overtime period as Pacific upset second-place Willamette, 69-64, in Northwest Conference men's basketball action at the Pacific Athletic Center.

With the win, the Boxers (10-14, 7-8 NWC) have a chance to finish with an
even conference record if they can beat Linfield Friday night. The win also stuck a dagger in the NWC championship hopes of the Bearcats (16-6, 10-4 NWC). With Whitworth's win over Whitman Tuesday, the Pirates need only to win one of their two games this weekend to claim the conference crown outright.

Van Domelen coupled his 16 points with eight rebounds, including six
offensive, and a big second half block. Erin Gram added 11 points and four assists and Rahim Tufts hit for 10.

Pacific outshot the Bearcats 44 percent to 35 percent after the Bearcats shot 61 percent in the first half. The Boxers also outrebounded
the 'Cats 42-30.

Ryan Hepp led the Bearcats with 18 points. Marques Johnson finished with 14, and scored the 1,000th point of his Willamette career on a free throw at the 14:05 mark of the second half.

After Johnson missed two lay-ins to start the extra period, Van Domelen took charge by scoring the first four points of the overtime for a 61-57 lead. Miles Sandgathe's three brought it back to within one, but subsequent jumpers by Gram and Van Domelen extended the lead to five, 65-60, with 2:09 left.

Hepp brought the margin back to one with another jumper and a free throw with 47 seconds left. Tufts fought into the lane on the next possession, hitting a lay-in with 13 seconds left for the 67-64 lead.

Hepp's three-pointer to tie did not fall, and two late free throws by Van
Domelen put the game away.

Neither the Boxers nor Bearcats could miss early on, trading the lead four times and tying eight times in the first 12 minutes. Willamette did not take the first sizeable lead of the game until the final three minutes, and went up 33-28 at halftime on B.J. Dobrkovsky's buzzer-beating three-pointer.

The Bearcats' took their biggest lead of seven early in the second half when two free throws by Johnson made it 35-28. The Boxers, however, quickly closed the game and tied the game on Dan Lumpkin's jumper with 14:25 left. Willamette took the seven-point advantage back on a 9-2 run that ended at the 9:50 mark on Sandgathe's free throw. The Bearcats led until Kelsey hit a free throw with 3.1 seconds left to tie the game at 57.

Pacific will finish its season Friday night as they host arch-rival
Linfield. Willamette will play at George Fox Friday, and finish the regular season at home Saturday against Puget Sound.