Kip's Corner: WILLAMETTE ROLLS TO NWC LEAD

Behind solid performances from a cast of players, the Bearcats roared into a tie for first place in the NWC with two double digit conference wins last week.

WU defeated rival Lewis and Clark 89-64 in Portland on Tuesday, followed by an 82-65 win over Pacific Lutheran at Cone Fieldhouse Saturday night.

CJ Stuvland averaged 19 points in the two wins, putting the Bearcats at 4-2 (2-0) on the season, tied with Puget Sound and George Fox on top of the Northwest Conference.

BREAKING DOWN THE BEARCATS

WU has regained its defensive toughness this season, currently leading the NWC in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, and rebounding margin. In addition, the Bearcats are 2nd in blocked shots and overall scoring margin.

Offensively, Willamette is #2 in the league in overall field goal percentage, as well as #3 in the league in assist to turnover ratio.

Individually, John Olinger (15 ppg) and CJ Stuvland (14 ppg) are in the Top 12 in scoring, Ian Mansfield (7 rpg) and Jason Luchterhand (6 rpg) are in the Top 10 in rebounding, and Olinger and Luchterhand each are in the Top 10 in field goal percentage.

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

BENCH SUPPORT

In Tuesday’s win at LC, Head Coach Gordie James received some stellar play off the bench, as senior Brennan Garrelts (15 points) and freshman David Fife (12 points) helped WU to a huge 2nd half. Garrelts added 6 rebounds and two blocked shots, and Fife filled the stat sheet with 6 boards and 3 assists.

ALL IN A ROW

The Bearcats have now defeated Lewis and Clark 3 consecutive times, and 7 out of the last 8 times.

WU has defeated PLU 5 consecutive times, and 6 out of the last 7.

WU has gone 5 consecutive years winning their home opener in the NWC.

WU is on a modest 2 game win streak overall this season.

THE WEEK AHEAD

With finals week approaching, WU will take a break from conference play until January 6th (at Whitworth), and travel to Nampa, Idaho to battle Division II opponent Northwest Nazarene. The Bearcats have not played Nazarene since December of 1999, a game that featured a WU rally from an early 30-3 deficit, only to fall by 3 late in the game. Following Saturday’s game, WU will be off until December 29, when they travel to California for a three game non-conference trip.


SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

The Crusaders, and new coach Tim Hills, are 2-2 on the season, following their last victory against Westminster College. Hills, a former Western Baptist and Western Oregon Head Coach, is in his first season at the Idaho school, and is leaning on Mesut AdeMoglu (18.3 ppg) and Ryan McCarthy (15 ppg) for much of his scoring. Nazarene, a former member of the Cascade Conference (NAIA), now plays in the NCAA DII Great Northwest Athletic Conference.


(Bearcat Assistant Coach Kip Ione writes this weekly column on Bearcat basketball)