Olinger's Late Heroics Lead Bearcats to 63-55 Win

SALEM — John Olinger scored the last seven points — his only points in the game — as the Willamette University men’s basketball team held on to defeat the Linfield Wildcats, 63-55, in the final Northwest Conference game of the season.

Olinger was 0-6 from the field until he hit a 3-point basket with 1:50 to go to give the Bearcats a 59-55 lead. Olinger then hit four free throws on the final 30 seconds of the game to seal the Bearcat victory.

Linfield was down 56-46 after a Miles Sandgathe lay-up before John Broussard led a Linfield rally that cut the lead to 56-55 with 3:00 to play. Neither team scored until Olinger hit this 3-pointer after Sandgathe corralled an offensive rebound.

In the first half, Harold Sublett Jr. scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting and Sandgathe tipped in a shot at the buzzer as the Bearcats took a 32-18 lead.

Willamette got 11 points from its bench in the first half as Todd Lewis and Ryan Rahlfs each had four and PJ McDevitt hit a three-point basket. Linfield shot only 8-33 in the first half.

It was a different story in the second half. The Bearcats kept the lead at double digits until a lay-up by Casey Kushiyama and a hoop by TJ Middlesworth cut the lead to eight, 49-41, with 7:30 to play.

A three-point play by Drew Miller pushed the lead back to 11 at the 6:20 mark before Broussard led the late charge.

Sublett (15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), Sandgathe (12 points 8 rebounds) and David Force (10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) paced the Bearcats.

Sam Krieger had 11 points and six boards to lead Linfield. Broussard finished with nine points and Nick Fusare was held to seven. Fusare led Linfield with 9 rebounds.

The Bearcats out-rebounded Linfield 44-40. Willamette shot 40% for the game while Linfield connected on 37% of their shots.