Western Oregon Defeats Bearcats, 94-57

MONMOUTH, ORE. -- Western Oregon University shot 58.8% (40 of 68) for the game and limited Willamette University to 30.2% shooting (19 of 63) on the night, as the Wolves defeated the Bearcats, 94-57, in a non-conference game on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Western Oregon, which competes in NCAA Division II, improved to 3-5 on the season. Willamette, a member of NCAA Division III, fell to 3-6 with the loss.

Jacob Mitchell and Travis Kuhns of WOU each scored five points in the first 3:24 of the game, as the Wolves built a 10-3 lead. Willamette answered with a 16-6 run, giving the Bearcats a 19-16 advantage with 9:10 remaining in the half. The run featured a pair of 3-pointers by Simon Currie (So., Wing/Post, Bend, OR/Mt. View HS) and two jump shots by Rob Andrus (Sr., Wing, Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS), including the final two points of the run.

WOU tallied the next 10 points to take a 26-19 lead at the 6:29 mark. Brad Krichevsky scored a basket, earned two steals and recorded one assist during the run. The string of unanswered points by the Wolves also included a 3-pointer by Ryan Schmidt.

Willamette returned to the scoring column and pulled within 26-21 on a layup by Dan Nugent (Fr., Wing/Post, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) with 6:08 on the clock. The Bearcats never got closer, as Western Oregon scored the next eight points, led 42-25 at halftime and shot 69.7% in the second half (23 of 33). Willamette, which shot only 27.3% in the first half (9 of 33), also struggled in the second half, hitting just 10 of 30 field goals (33.3%). The Bearcats were 5 of 26 (19.2%) on three-point shots during the game. WOU made 7 of 15 three-pointers (46.7%).

The Bearcats started to make a run at the Wolves to begin of the second half, as Smith sank a 3-pointer, then hit a jump shot, to cut the lead to 42-30 with 18:06 left. Western countered with three consecutive baskets to take control of the game.

WOU led 68-38 at the 11:21 mark, following a three-pointer by Krichevsky. The Wolves’ advantage increased to 81-40, when Larry Hall made a layup with 6:56 to go. Western outscored the Bearcats 52-32 in the second half.

Willamette’s top scorer was Smith with 14 points. He was 5 of 10 on field goals, including 2 of 4 on 3-point attempts. Nugent added 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Currie tacked on nine points and grabbed four rebounds, while Kyler McClary registered a game-high six rebounds to go with five points. Ian Mansfield (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) didn’t score for the Bearcats, but provided a team-high six assists and grabbed five boards.

The Wolves placed four players in double figures, led by Kuhns with 16 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Kuhns also supplied WOU with seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Mitchell followed with 13 points and six rebounds, while Krichevsky contributed 12 points and four steals. Adonal Arrington scored 11 points and had six rebounds. Mike McLaughlin grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go with six points, helping WOU achieve a 54-28 rebounding edge.

Both teams shot poorly at the charity stripe. Willamette made just 12 of 21 free throws (57.1%), but connected on 9 of 12 shots at the line in the second half. Western converted only 7 of 16 free throws (43.8%). The Wolves hit 6 of 8 free throws in the first half, but went just 1 of 8 on free throws during the second half.

Western Oregon was the first Willamette opponent this season with a losing record prior to taking on the Bearcats. WU opened the year with eight consecutive games against teams with winning records. WOU also was the first WU opponent that did not compete in NCAA Division III or the NAIA.

Willamette does not play again until Friday, Dec. 29, when the Bearcats will take on host California Lutheran University at the Thrivant Financial for Lutherans Tournament in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Game time between WU and CLU is set for 8 p.m. (PST). In the second round of the tournament on Saturday, Dec. 30, Willamette will play Bethany College (Kan.) or the Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wisc.) at a time to be announced.

The Bearcats do not return to Cone Field House for a home game until Friday, Jan. 5, in a Northwest Conference contest against Pacific University. Tip-off against the Boxers is schedule for 8 p.m. (PST).