KIP'S CORNER: Bearcat Hoop Has Rough Weekend in Tacoma

Willamette’s season proved memorable for all the wrong reasons yet again this past weekend, as the ‘Cats trip to Tacoma was anything but routine. Friday’s scheduled game at Pacific Lutheran was postponed due to a power outage on the PLU campus (an event that happened to the same teams, at the same time, during the 1999-2000 season), and eventually rescheduled for February 22nd. Following the unexpected off night, the ‘Cats were soundly beaten by NWC leading Puget Sound on Saturday, 91-65. Guards Michael Plank and Drew Miller scored 14 points apiece to pace the WU attack, and junior post Brennan Garrelts hauled in 7 rebounds.

This Week
WU will face a challenging schedule, as they play 3 conference games in the span of 6 days. Tuesday, the Bearcats will look to avenge a last second loss against Pacific University at Cone Fieldhouse in Salem. The weekend will see Willamette take to the road with away games at NWC Co-leader George Fox University Friday, and rival Lewis and Clark College in Portland on Saturday. WU defeated both Fox and LC in Salem earlier in the season.

A Look at the Opponents

Pacific Boxers (3-14, 2-7): Enter Tuesday’s date with the ‘Cats fresh off a victory at PLU on Saturday night. Coach Ken Schuman’s team has been lead on the season by freshman PG Brad Krichesvsky’s 14 ppg. Wing Mison Henley has chipped in 9 ppg, and defeated WU earlier in the season with a 3-point basket in the waning seconds.

George Fox Bruins (14-5, 9-1): Enter Friday’s game against WU in a first place tie with Puget Sound. The Bruins have been paced by NWC Player of the Year candidate Mark Gayman’s 18 pts and 8 rebounds. Coach Mark Sundquist has also gotten double figure scoring from Aaron Schmick (15 ppg) and wing Philip Heu-Weller (10 ppg). The Bearcats came from behind late to knock off the Bruins at Cone Fieldhouse in overtime earlier in the year.

Lewis and Clark (9-8, 5-4): Enter Saturday’s game looking to avenge an earlier drubbing at the hands of the Bearcats. Coach Bob Gaillard’s team has recovered from a slow start, and have been lead by Linfield transfer Travis Jones’ 16 ppg, and freshman Mark Robinowitz’s 13 ppg. LC, as a team, has already hoisted 550+ 3-pt attempts on the season.

A Closer Look at the Bearcats

-WU must win its final 7 games to avoid finishing below .500 for just the 3rd time in Coach Gordie James’ career at Willamette.

-UPS’ victory on Saturday completed the season sweep of the Bearcats. WU has now been swept in a season series just twice since 2001 (UPS and LC).

-WU plays 5 of its final 7 games on the road.

-Assistant Coach Wally Wing, a fixture in Bearcat Hoop for the past 18 years, received some much deserved recognition from the Statesman Journal. Follow this link to read the article:

-WU continues to lead the NWC in Assist to Turnover Ratio.