Men's Basketball News Release

THIS WEEK: Willamette (16-5, 10-3 NWC) controls own destiny in final week
The Bearcats are the only team in the Northwest Conference that controls their own destiny as far as winning both a share of the NWC title and the No. 1 seed in the three-team conference playoffs. But WU needs to win all three games this week to do that. Willamette hasn’t won a share of the NWC crown since 1995 and the Bearcats haven’t won the title outright since 1993, the year Gordie James’ team went on to win the NAIA Division II national championship. Although James would prefer not to be in the spotlight this week, he will be. He has 276 victories in his 16 seasons at Willamette, leaving him one win shy of tying the late John Lewis (277-239) as the school’s all-time winningest basketball coach.

Feb. 18 at Pacific (9-14, 6-8 NWC), 8 p.m.
Feb. 21 at George Fox (7-16, 1-13 NWC), 8 p.m.
Feb. 22 Puget Sound (11-12, 6-8 NWC), 8 p.m.

LAST WEEK: Willamette rolls by Whitman, No. 13 Whitworth with second-half surges
Feb. 14 at Willamette 62, Whitman 49
Willamette outscored Whitman 14-3 in the final 4:07 to come away with a hard-fought Northwest Conference victory over visiting Whitman. The Missionaries matched Willamette’s toughness and forced the hosts into 16 turnovers. Whitman trailed by just two points at 48-46 before the Bearcats went on their run. Post Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS), who had game-highs of 21 points and 16 rebounds, got the streak going with a free throw to make it 49-46. Moments later, B.J. Dobrkovsky (Sr., Lebanon HS) hit a three-pointer from the left wing and Miles Sandgathe (Jr., Pleasant Hill HS) scored off a driving lay-up to make it 54-46 with 2:29 left. After Sandgathe’s score, Whitman’s Cale Will was whistled for a technical foul and Sandgathe converted both charity tosses to stretch the lead to 56-46. The Bearcats also got 14 points and five assists from point guard Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS). Dobrkovsky came off the bench to add 10 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. While both teams struggled somewhat from the field (WU 42.3%; Whitman 35.8%), Willamette converted 15 of 17 free throws and the visitors canned 10 of 13 charity tosses. Johnson made 8 of 10 shots from the field and 5 of 7 free throws. Sandgathe was held to single digits in scoring (eight points) for just the second time this season.

Feb. 15 at Willamette 66, No. 13 Whitworth 56
Willamette rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to hand 13th-ranked Whitworth a 66-56 NWC defeat on Saturday. While Whitworth still held on to first place in the NWC, the decision tightened up the race considerably for the regular season championship. Whitworth controlled the first half, running off 13 straight points to take a 24-12 lead. The Pirates’ Chase Williams had 17 points in the first period, including a three-point buzzer-beater from half court. Whitworth shot 63.6 percent from the field in the first half and forced the Bearcats into 13 turnovers before the break. But the second half was all Willamette after the first few minutes. The Bearcats went ahead for good at the 7:21 mark when B.J. Dobrkovsky (Sr., Lebanon HS) scored a lay-up off a feed from Miles Sandgathe (Jr., Pleasant Hill HS), making the score 44-42. Whitworth’s Bryan Depew hit four straight free throws to keep the visitors within close range at 50-48 with 4:35 remaining before Willamette began to pull away. The Bearcats scored the next seven points of the game as Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) converted a three-point play on the inside, Harold Sublett Jr. (So., Hayden HS, Phoenix, Ariz.) hit a pair of free throws and Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) scored on a breakaway lay-in. Williams narrowed the gap to 57-50 with two charity tosses with 3:25 left, before WU went on another spurt. Dobrkovsky hit two free throws with 3:04 left and Sandgathe converted three of four foul shots to give the Bearcats a commanding 62-50 edge with 2:11 remaining. Willamette ended up out-rebounding Whitworth 32-16. The Pirates shot just 20.0 percent from the field in the second half, while WU shot 61.9 percent. The Bearcats got 22 points from Sandgathe. Johnson added 14 points and 10 boards and Sublett Jr. finished with 12 points and six rebounds. The latter made 5 of 6 shots from the field. Willamette ended up out-shooting Whitworth for the game, 53.7 percent to 40.4 percent. The Pirates made all 15 free throws, while Willamette converted 20 of 23.

NWC PLAYOFFS AND BEYOND: The three-team Northwest Conference playoffs begin Thursday, Feb. 27 with the No. 3 seed playing at the No. 2 seed. The winner of that game will play the No. 1 seed on Saturday, March 1 for the NWC’s automatic berth into the 48-team NCAA Division III national tournament. Game times for the conference playoffs will be 7 p.m., or 8 p.m. if a women’s playoff game precedes the men at the host site. 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. Whitworth and Willamette have clinched NWC playoff berths. Lewis & Clark can clinch the third spot by any combination of an L&C win or a Linfield loss in the final week. Willamette owns the tiebreaker over Lewis & Clark, and would hold one over Whitworth if Lewis & Clark finishes in third place.

1,000 POINTS, BEFORE AND AFTER: Point guard Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) surpassed the 1,000-point plateau for a career on Feb. 8 and now has a total of 1,029. Post Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) is closing in on that magical number as well. Johnson has 991 points.

NOTES: Post Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) was named Northwest Conference Player of the Week after scoring 35 points and pulling down 26 rebounds in the two wins. He shot 12 of 17 (70.6%) from the field and 11 of 14 (78.6%) from the free throw line … the Bearcats are 10-0 at home this season and have won 19 of the 20 periods in those games. Whitworth has been the only team to outscore WU in a half (a 34-21 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. 9, 2003), Willamette was ranked 21st in the nation in field goal percentage (49.3%) and 24th in scoring defense (62.9 ppg).

NWC STATISTICS: Willamette leads the NWC in scoring defense (62.0 ppg). The Bearcats are No. 2 in scoring margin (+9.1), field goal percentage (49.2%), three-point field goal percentage defense (32.1%), rebounding margin (+4.3) and turnover margin (+2.43). Individually, Marques Johnson (Sr., Grant HS) ranks second in the NWC in field goal percentage (57.7%), third in scoring (16.3 ppg), third in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and seventh in blocked shots (0.86). Ryan Hepp (Sr., Century HS) ranks third in assists (4.38 apg), third in free throw percentage (79.7%), fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.48:1), sixth in steals (1.48 spg), eighth in scoring (14.9 ppg) and eighth in field goal percentage (53.8%). Miles Sandgathe (Jr., Pleasant Hill HS) is first in three-point field goal percentage (54.5%), second in free throw percentage (86.4%), seventh in scoring (15.0 ppg), eighth in steals (1.38 spg) and ninth in field goal percentage (50.9%).

Whitworth (20-3) 11 3
WILLAMETTE (16-5) 10 3
Lewis & Clark (15-8) 10 4
Linfield (14-8) 7 6
Pacific Luth. (10-13) 7 7
Puget Sound (11-12) 6 8
Pacific (9-14) 6 8
Whitman (7-16) 4 10
George Fox (7-16) 1 13


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 16-5 10-3
TOTALS #276-157 146-75

# The all-time school record for wins by a Willamette head coach is 277 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 8:00
21 George Fox* (KBZY 1490) Newberg 8:00
22 Puget Sound* Salem 8:00
27 NWC playoffs (No. 3 at No. 2) TBA TBA

1 NWC Champ. (Winner at No. 1) TBA TBA

* 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