Kip's Corner) BEARCATS SPLIT OPENING WEEKEND

Head Coach Gordie James’ team opened with a bang, and followed with a whimper during its opening weekend of action.

Willamette blew out NCAA West Region foe Colorado College, 82-45, on Friday night, using a balanced attack featuring 3 double digit scorers (CJ Stuvland, John Olinger and Drew Miller).

However, the Bearcats fell the following evening to DII CSU-Pueblo, despite 29 from Olinger, and a commanding double digit halftime lead. WU stands at 1-1 on the young season.

BREAKING DOWN THE BEARCATS

Willamette put forth an excellent defensive effort over the weekend, holding both teams to an average of 54 ppg. However, after a hot shooting night against CC, WU connected on only 39% of their shots against CSU-Pueblo Saturday. In addition, despite Olinger’s All-Tourney performance, the rest of the Bearcats struggled to find their groove against the ThunderWolves, scoring only 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART THIS WEEK

PG Josh Erickson Drew Miller
SG John Olinger Robbie Andrus
W CJ Stuvland David Fife
P Ian Mansfield Jacob Baran
P Jason Luchterhand Brennan Garrelts

STEPPING IN

Both Drew Miller and David Fife were asked to “step in” to new roles over the weekend, both performing well. Miller replaced starter Josh Erickson on Friday (dealing with a death in the family), and posted 11 points against CC. Fife stepped into Miller’s minutes off the bench, and scored 9 points and snared 3 steals. Erickson rejoined the team Saturday night, and played in his first collegiate contest in two years (knee injury).

THE WEEK AHEAD
WU continues its daunting schedule, heading south the day after Thanksgiving to tangle with a pair of NAIA stalwarts, Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon. WU lost its last battle against OIT in 2003, but defeated the Raiders of SOU in Salem a year ago.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Oregon Tech and Head Coach Danny Miles are currently 5-0 and ranked #4 in the nation in NAIA. The Owls put 4 players in double figures each game, lead by wing Ryan Fiegi (16 ppg), Danny Mills (15), Levell Hesia (15) and Andre Lawerence (14). Coach Miles Owls’ were the NAIA National Champions two years ago, and are a heavy favorite to be in the mix again this year.
Southern Oregon, a fellow member of Oregon Tech in the Cascade Conference, is also a national player in the NAIA ranks. Head Coach Brian McDermott’s team sq