Kip's Corner: Inside Bearcat Hoop
Willamette’s season may have reached its low-point, as WU was swept at home for the first time by Whitworth College and Whitman College. After dropping a nail-biting overtime decision to the Pirates of Whitworth on Friday night, Whitman erased an early 25-15 deficit en route to their 2nd conference win of the season on Saturday. WU lost captain Harold Sublett, Jr. to yet another injury in the 2nd half of Friday’s game, and suffered through a 4-26 3-pt shooting night on Saturday. The Bearcats, now 6-11 (3-5) on the season, must regroup in a hurry, as they take to the road for all but 2 of their remaining 8 games.
WU travels to Tacoma, WA for weekend matchups with Pacific Lutheran University and conference co-leader the University of Puget Sound. WU blew-out the Lutes earlier in the season at Cone Fieldhouse, before dropping a close decision to the Loggers the following night. Both games are part of doubleheader action with the Bearcat women’s team, and will tip-off at 8 pm.
About the Opponents:
Pacific Lutheran Lutes (5-12, 3-5)
The Lutes and coach Dave Harshman have rebounded from an early 82-44 drubbing by the Bearcats to post 3 conference wins on the season, including a defeat of Lewis and Clark in Portland. The Lutes have been paced on the season by Sudon DeSuze (10 ppg) and Michael Torbenson (10 ppg).
Puget Sound Loggers (13-3, 7-1)
A D3 Top 25 team all season long, the Loggers and coach Eric Bridgeland enter the weekend tied for the NWC lead with George Fox. Led by Jeremy Cross’ 17 ppg, UPS places 6 players at or above 10 ppg. Chase Curtiss’ 22 points helped the Loggers overcome WU in Salem earlier in the season.
A Closer Look at the Bearcats
-WU’s two-sport athlete Michael Plank scored a career-high 10 points and pulled down 5 rebounds vs. Whitman on Saturday night. Plank doubles as a standout kick-returner for the Bearcats’ football team.
-Todd Lewis recorded a 17 point, 12 rebound double-double on Friday night.
-WU has lost more game minutes to injury this season than at any other point in Coach Gordie James’ career. Case in point, captain Harold Sublett, Jr. and preseason projected point guard Josh Erickson have spent a combined 27 games in street clothes throughout the course of the season. Friday’s game may have been the capstone, as at one point in the second half, Sublett, Brennan Garrelts, and Henry Greeley were all unavailable to return to action.
-Despite the outcomes of the weekend games, WU garnered season highs in attendance on both nights.
-The Bearcats continue to lead the NWC in Scoring Defense, Assists, and Assist to Turnover Ratio.