Olinger's 29 Not Enough As Bearcats Fall 63-56 to CSU-Pueblo

PUEBLO, CO — Despite 29 points from John Olinger, the Willamette University men’s basketball team blew a ten-point halftime lead as the Bearcats lost 63-56 to CSU-Pueblo in the final game of the Al Kaly Classic in Pueblo, CO Saturday night.

Willamette is now 1-1 on the season. CSU is 2-0.

Olinger poured in 18 of his game-high 29 in the first half, hitting 5-6 from the floor and 4-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. With the Bearcats ahead 10-8, Olinger hit three 3-pointers and a jumper to put the Bearcats ahead 21-12. His two free throws put Willamette ahead 35-23 before a late first half jumper from Steve Raquet pulled CSU within ten at 35-25.

It was a different story in the second half. CSU scored the first six points of the half and finally pulled even at 39-39 on a pair of Brian Wood free throws at the 14:11 mark. Raquet gave CSU its first lead at 44-43 with a free throw.

Willamette came back to tie the game at 50 on another Olinger 3-pointer, but CSU scored the next eight points to take a 58-50 lead with 4:08 to play.

The Bearcats pulled within four on a Jason Luchterhand jumper, but CSU made 4-5 free throws down the stretch to remain undefeated on the season.

Olinger was the only Bearcat scoring in double figures. Luchterhand and Ian Mansfield each had six points and Drew Miller added five.

Miller and CJ Stuvland each had five rebounds to lead Willamette, but CSU won the rebound battle, 38-27. CSU also out-shot the Bearcats, hitting 47% of their shots to 39% for Willamette.

Willamette takes a trip through Southern Oregon next weekend, playing Oregon Tech on Friday and Southern Oregon on Saturday.