Kip's Corner: Bearcats Remain Tied for NWC Lead as They Prepare for Whitworth and Whitman This Weekend; SATURDAY'S GAME BEGINS AT 4PM

WILLAMETTE’S HOT SHOOTING LEADS TO TWO WINS
Coach Gordie James Bearcats shot 54.5% from the floor over the course of two games, helping Willamette University’s Men’s Basketball team to victories over both Lewis and Clark and Pacific Lutheran in NWC play.

The Bearcats, winners of 7 straight games, improved their record to 13-5 (9-1) and remain tied for first place in the NWC with the UPS Loggers (whom Willamette defeated earlier in the season).

CJ Stuvland (36 points vs. Lewis and Clark) and John Olinger (20 points vs. PLU) paced the WU attack during the week, giving the Bearcats momentum as they face a daunting homestand vs. 3rd place Whitworth and 4th place Whitman.

BREAKING DOWN THE BEARCATS
WU leads the NWC in FG and 3 pt. FG% defense, and allows the fewest points per game in the league (67.7). In addition, WU leads the league in Defensive Rebounding.

Offensively, WU is #1 in FG% and #1 from behind the 3-point line (numbers helped largely by 54% and 55% shooting over the weekend). The Bearcats are currently #3 in scoring margin and hand out the most assists in the NWC at 16.8 apg.

Individually, WU’s John Olinger is second in the NWC in scoring, one spot behind Whitman’s Matt Kelly at 18.6 points per game. In fact, Olinger is ranked in the top 15 in all but two statistical categories including 1st in free throw percentage (.872), 2nd in steals (2.29 pg), third in assist to turnover ratio (1.88) and 14th in rebounding.

CJ Stuvland averages 16.0, while Drew Miller leads the NWC in accuracy from behind the arc, hitting 56% of his attempts.

Both Ian Mansfield and Jason Luchterhand rank amongst the league leaders in rebounding, with Luchterhand shooting at a 60.4% clip.

Freshman David Fife and sophomore Josh Erickson are amongst the league’s best in assists.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART THIS WEEK

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

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Junior wing CJ Stuvland made 7 3-point shots against LC on his way to 36 points. (He added 16 against PLU).

Senior wing John Olinger scored 20 points against PLU, and added 7 assists.

Senior post Jason Luchterhand returned to lineup with 13 points (on 6-7 shooting) and 5 rebounds.

Sophomore post Ian Mansfield scored 11 points and had 8 rebounds vs. LC.

Senior post Brennan Garrelts scored 10 points vs. LC.

FAMILIAR FOES
Whitworth and Willamette have engaged in an intense rivalry since the arrival of Whitworth Coach Jim Hayford in 2002. Both schools have been at or near the top of the NWC for the past 5 seasons, and have met in the post season tournament semis and championship game. Each team has ended the other’s lengthy home court winning streak (both in 2004), and currently the Pirates hold a 3 game winning streak (two in overtime) in the series. Whitworth won the first meeting between the schools this season, 80-58, in Spokane, handing Willamette its only DIII and NWC loss of the season.

STILL ALIVE
WU’s opponent on Saturday, the Missionaries of Whitman, are currently battling for the third and final playoff spot in the NWC tournament. Whitman, and coach Skip Molitor, stand at 9-9 (5-5) and are two games back of Whitworth in the NWC standings. Lead by league scoring leader Matt Kelly, and post Kyle Born, Whitman will look to repeat last year’s upset of the Bearcats in Cone Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE:
Willamette gained some national exposure last week, appearing in D3hoops.com’s “Around the Nation” column Friday. Click on the following link to read the article:

http://www.d3hoops.com/nation/