Nugent Scores 28 Points in 96-93 Win over Concordia

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University hit 60.7% from the floor and gained a 36-19 rebounding edge to defeat Concordia University (Oregon), 96-93, despite a deluge of three-point baskets by the Cavaliers, who sank 20 of 34 long-range attempt. Dan Nugent (Fr., Wing/Post, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) led Willamette by scoring 28 points on 10 of 14 shooting (2 of 4 on 3-pointers) and 6 of 8 at the line. Nugent also led WU with eight rebounds and three steals.

Concordia’s top scorer was Alex Hartman, with 29 points. He converted 11 of 17 field goals, including 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point arc. Jim Bertelson added 21 points for the Cavaliers, all on three-point shots, as he connected on 7 of 10 trifectas.

Willamette, which has opened the season by playing seven consecutive teams with winning records, upped its own mark to 2-5 with the victory. The Bearcats remain at home on Saturday, Dec. 9, when they will host Southern Oregon University at 3 p.m. (PST). Concordia fell to 5-4 overall.

With Concordia shooting the lights out from 3-point range at 58.8% for the game, the Bearcats were forced to prevent second-chance opportunities and to execute on the offensive end of the court. Willamette responded by sinking 37 of 61 field goals, including 19 of 28 attempts (67.9%) in the first half. The Bearcats limited CU to just three offensive boards.

Even so, the Cavaliers’ three-point success kept them in the game. In the first half, Concordia led by as many as seven points, at 22-15, with 11:18 left in the period. The Cavs also led 25-19 after hitting five threes in a 2:24 span from the 12:25 mark until the 10:01 mark. CU’s longe-range bombardment wiped out the 13-10 lead held by Willamette prior to the first of the five trifectas.

Willamette scored the next six points, including a 3-pointer by Kyler McClary (So., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) to get within a single point, but two more three-pointers helped CU build a 31-26 lead with 8:01 remaining in the half.

The Cavs did not connect from 3-point range again during the opening half, while WU used a 10-0 run to take a 38-33 advantage at the 3:48 mark. The Bearcats also led 44-37 following a 3-pointer by WU’s Simon Currie (So., Wing/Post, Bend, OR/Mt. View HS) with 1:11 to go. Concordia scored the final four points of the half to pull within 44-41 at the break.

Nugent scored just 10 seconds into the second half to give Willamette a five-point lead, but a 3-pointer by Hartman and a layup by Eric Cohen quickly tied the game. Neither team led by more than three points until the 12:27 mark, when Nugent put through a jumper to give WU a 61-56 advantage. The Bearcats extended the lead to 65-56 by completing an 9-0 run.

A 3-pointer by Bertelson cut the lead to six points, and two more threes helped CU go on a 11-4 run that cut the margin to 69-67 with 8:50 to go. Willamette used a pair of free throws by Ian Mansfield (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) to take a 73-67 lead with 7:49 left.

WU was in front by seven points, 80-73, following a jumper by Nugent at the 6:03 mark. The Cavaliers gradually reduced the lead and edged to within a single point, 82-81, on a 3-pointer by Cohen with 3:26 left.

Layins by Tain Cantrell (So., Post, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS) at the end of two Willamette fast break attacks increased the Bearcats’ lead to five points, 89-84, with 1:41 on the clock. Currie tacked on a layup with 50 seconds to go, as the lead reached seven points.

Concordia’s 3-point success returned, as Ryan Murray hit a trifecta at the 41-second mark and Hartman added a long-range blast with 19 seconds left, to offset two free throws by Nugent and reduce the lead to 93-90. Willamette turned the ball over shortly after the in-bounds pass, but Hartman missed a 3-pointer and Mansfield brought down the rebound with nine seconds remaining.

Mansfield was immediately fouled. He sank both free throws for a 95-90 lead, only to have Bertelson sink a 3-pointer with two seconds to go. Nugent was fouled as he grabbed the in-bounds pass. He hit the first of two free throws to conclude the scoring. Concordia did not get off a potential tying shot before time expired.

Nugent was one of three Bearcats in double figures. McClary produced 17 points and grabbed five rebounds. He hit 7 of 11 field goals, including 3 of 5 three-point shots. Michael Smith (Jr., Wing, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) chipped in 10 points, four assists and four rebounds. Mansfield contributed nine points and nine boards, while Currie, senior wing Rob Andrus (Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) and senior Mike Plank (Stockton, CA/Franklin HS) tallied eight points each. Plank, in his new role as the starting point guard for the Bearcats, led WU with five assists.

Hartman and Bertelson of Concordia were joined in double figures by Murray, who sank 3 of 4 three-pointers and finished the game with 10 points. Dustin Hiebert scored nine points on 3 of 5 three-pointers. Cody Aker led the Cavaliers with nine rebounds, while Murray ranked first on the CU roster with six assists. Concordia made 7 of 13 three-pointers in the first half (53.8%), then connected on 13 of 21 three-pointers (61.9%) in the second half.

Although the Cavs gained the most notice with their 20-of-34 performance from 3-point range, Willamette also shot well from behind the arc. The Bearcats were 9 of 19 (47.4%) on 3-pointers, led by McClary’s three successful shots. Six Cavaliers and five Bearcats each hit at least one 3-pointer during the game.