KIP's CORNER: Bearcats Playing Best Ball of Season; Final Home Game Tuesday Night

INSIDE BEARCAT HOOP
WU played arguably its best stretch of basketball all season long last week, winning three games by an average of 18 points, and climbing within 1 game of 3rd place in the NWC.

Paced by the all-around excellence of guard John Olinger (75 points in 3 games), the Bearcats handled Pacific at home on Tuesday (83-68), blew out NWC-leading George Fox on its own homecourt (101-77), and rallied past rival Lewis Clark in Portland (69-55).

Willamette received primetime performances from CJ Stuvland (two games over 20 points) and Todd Lewis (30 points and 17 rebounds over the weekend) and continued its stellar defensive effort in shutting down two of the NWC’s hottest shooting teams in Fox and LC.

This Week
Willamette is the 9th team in the NWC scheduling this year, meaning it has two off weekends during the season, this upcoming one being the last of the two. WU will host rival Linfield College on Tuesday the 15th, however, in the home finale for seniors Harold Sublett, Jr. and Todd Lewis. In addition to the traditional rivalry the two schools enjoy whenever they meet, Tuesday’s meeting will also be a chance for the Bearcats to vault past the Wildcats into 3rd place in the NWC standings.

A Look at the Opponents

Linfield Wildcats (10-10, 6-5): Enter Tuesday’s game with WU as a team in flux. Two starters off Coach Larry Doty’s team, Sam Kreiger and Jon Hildebrandt, will not see action in Salem. Kreiger is lost for the year with a knee injury, while Hildebrandt is no longer a member of the Wildcats’ team. Linfield remains a dangerous opponent, as senior wing Blake Shelton (18 ppg) and junior post Chris Lewis (13 ppg) have kept the Wildcats afloat amidst the recent turmoil. Linfield defeated Willamette in McMinnville earlier in the season.

A Closer Look at the Bearcats

-Captain Harold Sublett, Jr. started in back-to-back games for the first time since early December. Sublett, who has missed 8 games due to injury this season, scored 10 points against George Fox.

-WU received an astounding 73 points from its perimeter players (John Olinger, CJ Stuvland, Sublett, and Drew Miller) in Friday’s upset win at George fox.

-WU’s three game winning streak is it’s longest of the year.

-Todd Lewis’ score all 12 of his points against George Fox, and 16 of his 18 points against LC, in the 2nd half of both contests.

-WU has now defeated rival Lewis and Clark in 6 of the past 7 meetings between the two teams.

-If UPS is able to hold off George Fox in the race for the NWC crown, the Loggers can send a big thank you to the Bearcats. WU has handed Fox both its only 2 conference losses of the season.

-Fox has not beat Willamette since a 106-104 double OT win in 2001, a string of 8 consecutive games.

-WU continues to lead the NWC in Assists and Assist to Turnover Ratio. The Bearcats are 2nd in Scoring Defense and Rebounding Margin.