Kip's Corner: Inside Willamette University Men's Basketball

Last Week:
Willamette suffered through a difficult weekend, losing at home to Cascade College 79-67, and dropping a 96-57 decision to Division I Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, AZ on Saturday night. CJ Stuvland and Henry Greeley had 18 and 12, respectively, on Friday, while captain Harold Sublett, Jr. returned to the line-up Saturday night and led the Bearcats with 10 points in his first game in his home state since high school.

This Week:
The Bearcats will focus on finals week at Willamette, and mix in game preparation for Monday’s (Dec. 20th) game at Warner Pacific College in Portland. Following the Warner game, WU will break for the Christmas Holiday, and return to practice December 29th in preparation for the beginning of Northwest Conference play.

A Look at the Opponents:

-Warner Pacific enters this weekend’s action at 7-3 on the season. A member of the NAIA Cascade Conference, Warner Pacific has been a regular foe of the Bearcats the past 4 seasons (all Bearcat victories). Donny Woods (17.1), Joe Hoover (12.7) and Josh Jackson (12.2) have handled the scoring load for the Knights, who have navigated a difficult schedule that has included WU rival Linfield College, NCAA DII Central Washington, and Lewis and Clark State. The Knights are coached by Bart Valentine.

A Look at the Bearcats:

-WU is now 30-5 at home in the past 4 seasons, with Friday’s loss against Cascade just the second non-NWC loss at home for the Bearcats since December of 2000 (vs. Southern Oregon).

- After the Warner Pacific game, WU will have played a total of 6 teams from the Cascade Conference. The Bearcats are currently 2-3 against the league.

- Northern Arizona shot an astounding 91% from the 3-pt. line Saturday night, leading to an impressive 70% overall shooting night for the Lumberjacks.

- Warner Pacific Head Coach Bart Valentine has an interesting connection to Willamette. Former WU All-NWC performer Nik Lubisich (2001) played for Valentine at West Linn High School, and the pair helped the Lions to the 1997 4A state title. (Lubisich lead the entire NCAA in 3-pt. field goals per game in 2001)

- WU coach Gordie James is one win away from his 300th career victory.

- Wing John Olinger just missed a triple double versus Cascade College Friday night. Olinger posted 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists in the loss.

-WU opens NWC play January 7th and 8th versus Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound (currently ranked #4 in the nation by d3hoops.com).