Bearcats Hold Off Boxers for 66-62 Victory in First Northwest Conference Home Game of Season

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University led Pacific University by as many as 11 points in the second half, but Pacific pulled within a single point four times in the final 11:31, including 63-62, with 1:32 left on the clock. All four times Willamette scored the next basket, including a jumper by Ian Mansfield (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) with 38 seconds left, as the Bearcats held off the Boxers, 66-62, in a Northwest Conference game at Cone Field House.

After Mansfield’s basket gave WU a 65-62 lead, the Bearcats forced Pacific to miss two three-pointers the rest of the way. Thomas Bright missed the first trifecta, then hauled down his own rebound with 23 seconds left. Donn Harrison-Davis took the second attempt with four seconds left, but Kyler McClary (Jr., So., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) hauled down the rebound and was fouled with one-half second left as he made an outlet pass.

It was Pacific’s seventh foul of the half. McClary hit the first free throw, then missed the second, giving Willamette a 66-62 lead. Pacific failed on a full-court desperation shot at the buzzer.

Willamette, playing its first NWC home game of the season, improved to 5-7 overall, including 1-2 in the NWC. Pacific fell to 5-6 on the season, 1-2 in the NWC.

The Bearcats led for most of the game, but Pacific held a 15-10 advantage at the 12:37 mark in the first half, following a jumper by Ross Bartlett. The Bearcats went on a 13-3 run to move in front, 23-18, with Rob Andrus (Sr., W, Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) providing nine of the points on three 3-pointers.

WU extended its lead to 32-20 when Michael Smith (Jr., W, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) sank a jump shot with 4:24 left in the half. The Boxers scored the next six points, three on a trifecta by Jesse Wong, before McClary nailed a 3-pointer for Willamette to give the Bearcats a 35-26 lead. Bartlett scored the final two points of the half at the free throw line for Pacific, as the Boxers cut the lead to seven points.

Mansfield led all players with 16 points and was 7 of 13 on field goals. McClary tacked on 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats. He connected on 5 of 8 field goals, including 4 of 5 three-pointers. Smith and Andrus each finished with 12 points. Smith was 5 for 10 from the field, while Andrus went 4 for 8, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

Tain Cantrell (So., P, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS), scored just two points for the Bearcats, but provided a team-high five assists, to go with four rebounds, two blocks shots and a steal in 20 minutes played. The Bearcats converted 43.6% of their shots (24 of 55), while hitting 10 of 19 three-pointers (52.6%). The ‘Cats made 8 of 10 free throws.

For Pacific, Bright led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds. Bartlett provided a double-double for the Boxers, with 14 points and 11 boards. Joe Van Domelen also scored 14 points and hauled down six rebounds. Harrison-Davis chipped in nine points, while Ryan Turcott led all players with four steals.

Both teams kept their turnovers to a minimum. Pacific lost the ball just seven times and Willamette gave up possession just 11 times.

Willamette, now 3-0 at Cone Field House this season, will play at home again on Saturday, Jan. 6, when the Bearcats host Lewis & Clark College. The NWC game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. (PST).