Kip's Corner: BEARCATS SPLIT THANKSGIVING WEEKEND TRIP

Willamette University’s men’s basketball team repeated its opening weekend up and down performance in Ashland this past week, defeating NAIA #4 Oregon Tech Friday night, only to lose to NAIA #2 Southern Oregon on Saturday.

WU led the Raiders of SOU by as many as 14 points Saturday (similar to their 15-point advantage over CSU-Pueblo a week before), only to suffer another poor 2nd half shooting performance, eventually falling 68-59. WU stands at 2-2 overall on the young season.

STEPPING UP

Both starting posts for WU enjoyed breakout performances against top notch competition over the weekend, as Ian Mansfield hauled in 21 rebounds over the two games, and Jason Luchterhand (pictured above) posted a double-double against Oregon Tech. Luchterhand earned honorable mention NWC Athlete of the Week for his performance.

Wing CJ Stuvland poured in 20 points against OIT, and John Olinger posted double figures in both contests.


BREAKING DOWN THE BEARCATS

Coach Gordie James’ club is currently #2 in points allowed, field goal percentage defense, and 3-point percentage defense in the NWC. The Bearcats are also amongst the lead leaguers in offensive field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, as well as the NWC leader in defensive rebounding.

Wing John Olinger ranks in the Top 10 in scoring (16.8), field goal percentage (65.7%), and 3-point field goal percentage (57%). Post Ian Mansfield is #5 in the league in rebounds per game at 7.3.

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


WELCOME BACK

It’s been a long and difficult road back to playing for co-captain Josh Erickson (So./McNary), but it might have all been worth it Friday night. Playing in just his second game following back-to-back ACL injuries over the past two seasons, Erickson drained a free throw with .6 seconds left on the clock to win the game against Oregon Tech. He followed with a strong 9-point outing against Southern Oregon Saturday night.

THE WEEK AHEAD

WU opens conference play on the road Tuesday against rival Lewis and Clark in Portland, and follows with their home debut Saturday against Pacific Lutheran. The NWC opens conference play early this season, in order to make room for the return of the postseason conference tournament that awards the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.


SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

The Pioneers of Lewis and Clark and Head Coach Bob Gailard are currently 1-1 on the season. The Pios have gone to an up-tempo, 3-point style, highlighting the abilities of guard Thomas Tillery (14 ppg) and freshman shooter David Berggren (17 ppg). LC has also played a difficult exhibition slate, including games at Oregon State and Utah State.
WU swept the Pios a year ago.

Saturday’s foe, Pacific Lutheran, is currently 0-2. The Lutes are lead statistically by Drew Cardwell’s 15.5 points per game, with Jason Vanlandingham adding an additional 12 points per game. Willamette swept PLU a year ago.


(Bearcat Assistant Coach Kip Ione writes a weekly column about Bearcat Hoop.)

Jason Luchterhand

Jason Luchterhand