Kip's Corner: BEARCATS SALVAGE TRIP WITH SATURDAY WIN

One night after one of the most disappointing second half performances in recent seasons, Willamette University’s men’s basketball team exploded for 61 second half points against Whitman College, erasing a double-digit deficit, and grabbing hold of an 86-82 NWC road win. Lead by John Olinger’s perfect 9-9 shooting and game high 30 points, Willamette split its Eastern Washington road swing, righting the ship after an 80-58 loss in Spokane against Whitworth. WU stands at 7-5 (3-1) on the season, tied for 2nd in the NWC with Whitworth and George Fox.

BREAKING DOWN THE BEARCATS
Despite entering the weekend ranking 2nd in Points Allowed (68) and first in both FG% Allowed and 3-PT FG% Allowed, the Bearcats were unable to hold either opponent under 80 points, and lost the battle of the glass both nights. WU was the league leader in Rebounding Margin and Defensive Rebounds entering the weekend, but have since dropped to #2 in both categories.

Offensively, WU is #2 in FG% and #3 from behind the 3-point line. The Bearcats are currently #3 in scoring margin.

Individually, Olinger leads the NWC in scoring at 19.3 PPG, and CJ Stuvland is 10th at 14.5. Jason Luchterhand and Ian Mansfield are #8 and #9 in rebounding, and Olinger is the league leader in FT% at 87.5%. Finally, Drew Miller continues his solid play, ranking #2 in 3-pt. FG% at 51.5%.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART THIS WEEK

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

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
John Olinger erupted for 30 points against Whitman, including perfect shooting in the 2nd half.
CJ Stuvland led the team with 17 against Whitworth, and followed with 10 against Whitman.
Jason Luchterhand posted a solid 11 point, 7 rebound outing against Whitman.
Ian Mansfield scored 12 points and pulled down 6 boards against Whitman.
Drew Miller scored 12 points against Whitman.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Bearcats have gotten a lot of mileage out of their cardinal road uniforms this season, having worn them in 11 of their first 12 games. WU will visit Pacific on Friday, and finally return home to Cone Fieldhouse on Saturday for an 8 pm contest with rival Linfield College. WU will then play 7 of their next 8 games at home, before hitting the road for their final 3 games of the regular season.

SCORCHING HOT
John Olinger, CJ Stuvland and Drew Miller all currently rank amongst the NWC leaders in 3 point shooting. The trio has combined for at least 2 made 3 pointers in every game this season, including a season high 13 makes against Whittier.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Pacific and new Head Coach Jason Lowery are 6-6 (1-3) entering Friday’s home game against Willamette. The Boxers are paced in the scoring department by Branden Kawazoe (13.9) and Ross Bartlett (10.8), and lead the NWC in Points Allowed. The Bearcats split with the Boxers a year ago, with each team winning on their home floor.

The Wildcats of Linfield College are 4-9 (1-3) heading into Saturday’s game at Willamette. Long time Head Coach Larry Doty’s club is putting only one player in double figures, with Ryan Monagle at 13.8 PPG. Freshman Jackson Baber leads the Wildcats in rebounding. Linfield swept the Bearcats a year ago, but suffered heavy graduation losses, including 1st team All-NWC pick Blake Shelton.