High-Scoring Albertson Defeats Bearcats, 116-77, at Duane Wolfe Golden Rule Shoot-Out

CALDWELL, IDAHO -- Albertson College scored more than 100 points for the second time in its first three games of the season, and the Coyotes shot 58.7% from the field, as the host team pulled away from Willamette University, 116-77, in the first round of the 20th Annual Duane Wolfe Golden Rule Shoot-Out. Albertson went on a 13-0 run early in the game for a 22-10 lead, then built a 58-38 halftime margin. Willamette was unable to rally in the second half.

Albertson, a member of the NAIA, has now scored 331 points, an average of 110.3 points per game, on its way to a 3-0 start to the season. The Yotes showed promise even during their exhibition schedule, as they lost to NCAA Division I opponent Idaho State University by just 11 points, 91-80, on Nov. 4. Willamette, playing its season opener, fell to 0-1.

Dan Nugent (Fr., Wing/Post, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) began his WU career by scoring the game’s first points on a layup 13 seconds into the opening period. The Yotes answered with a 3-pointer by Josh Owen, starting a 12-of-24 night for Albertson from behind the 3-point arc.

Nugent, who led all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds, hit layups at the 17:04 and 16:43 marks of the first half, Willamette took a 10-9 lead. Albertson countered with 13 consecutive points, including 3-pointers by Donnel Garner, Kurt Nelson and Ike Stafford to complete the run. The Coyotes also led 25-12, before WU fought back with a 10-4 run to get as close as 29-22 with 9:29 left in the half.

The AC lead was 10 points, 36-26 at the 6:54 mark, but the Yotes closed the half with a 22-12 run. Albertson connected on 21 of 39 field goals (53.8%), including 8 of 15 three-pointers (53.3%), during the half.

Albertson continued its hot shooting over the final 20 minutes by hitting 23 of 36 shots (63.9%). The Yotes made 4 of 9 three-pointers and 8 of 11 free throws in the second half. AC was 16 of 23 at the line (69.6%) for the game.

Willamette shot the ball well in the first half, but committed 29 turnovers during the game, while forcing Albertson into just 13 miscues. The Bearcats connected on 12 of 22 field goals (54.5%) in the first half, before falling off to 41.9% (13 of 31) in the second period. WU struggled from 3-point range, as the Bearcats went 1 for 11, with the team’s only trifecta coming on a buzzer-beater by Rob Andrus (Sr., Wing, Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) at the end of the game.

Nugent’s 23 points were earned on 9 of 12 field goal shooting and a 5-for-6 effort at the line. Tain Cantrell (So., Post, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS) added 18 points and converted 10 of 12 free throws. Andrus tacked on 12 points and Michael Smith (Jr., Wing, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) provided eight points. The Bearcats made 26 of 34 free throws (76.5%), including 12 of 15 in the second half.

Grant Leslie (Fr., G, Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS), who recently finished the football season as Willamette’s back-up quarterback, saw 14 minutes of action against the Yotes. He registered a team-high four assists, scored three points and earned two steals.

The top scorer for Albertson was Stafford, who connected on 6 of 10 field goals (5 of 9 three-pointers) for 19 points. Garner and Anton Coleman each tallied 15 points, while Owen and J.R. Maggard each recorded 12 points. Nelson also reached double figures, as he finished with 11 points. The Yotes were credited with 26 assists, led by Garner with seven. AC also earned 25 steals, with five by Owen and four by Stafford. The leading rebounders for the Yotes were Stafford and Chad Ivie with five boards apiece.

The 39-point margin of victory was the largest in the 110 meetings between Willamette and Albertson since the series began in 1933. Albertson’s 116 points were the most scored by the Coyotes in the series.

Willamette will take on Eastern Oregon University in the second round of the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. (PST). The Yotes will play Westminster College (Utah) on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. (PST). In Friday’s other first round game, Eastern Oregon defeated Westminster, 85-73.