Kip's Corner: Bearcat Hoop Internet Release #6

By Kip Ioane

Bearcats Split Weekend Action in California; Return Home for NWC Games versus Pacific and Lewis & Clark
Following an extended Holiday Break, the Willamette University’s men’s basketball team split two games in California over the weekend, defeating California Lutheran University, 85-72, on Friday, Dec. 29, before falling to Bethany College (Kan.), 79-64, on Saturday, Dec. 30. Willamette returns to Northwest Conference play with a 4-7 record for the year, 0-2 in the NWC. The Bearcats will play in the friendly confines of Cone Field House this weekend for home dates against Pacific University on Friday, Jan. 5 and Lewis and Clark College on Saturday, Jan. 6. Both games are part of double-header action with the Willamette women’s team. Each night, the women’s game will begin at 6 p.m. (PST), with the men’s game set for approximately 8 pm. (PST).

Breaking Down the Bearcats
Freshman Dan Nugent and junior Ian Mansfield both were named to the All-Tournament team in California, with both players averaging 14.5 points over the weekend and Manfield adding 10.5 rebounds per contest. Mansfield also was selected as the NWC Men's Basketball Player of the Week. Nugent provided WU’s top individual scoring performance of the weekend when he recorded 22 points in the win over California Lutheran.

As a team, Willamette ranks third in the NWC in scoring, averaging 79.0 points per game. The Bearcats also rank #1 in free throw shooting (74.2%) and are #3 in field goal shooting, hitting 47.8% of their shots. Willamette ranks first in the NWC in blocked shots (3.6 per game) and is sixth in rebounding margin at +0.5 rebounds per contest.

Individually, Nugent is fifth in the league in scoring with 17.2 points per game. He also ranks seventh in the NWC in rebounding per game (6.1 avg.) and is second in field goal percentage (64.3%). Mansfield is second in the NWC in rebounding at 9.4 rebounds per game and senior Rob Andrus has jumped to the top of the NWC in free throw shooting at 88.9% (24 of 27).

Projected Depth Chart this Week

Point Guard
Starter - Michael Plank
Back-up - Corey Costantino

Shooting Guard
Starter - Michael Smith
Back-up - Rob Andrus

Wing
Starter - Danny Nugent
Backup - Nick Babij

Post
Starter - Ian Mansfield
Back-up - Simon Currie

Post
Starter - Kyler McClary
Back-up - Tain Cantrell

Home Sweet Home

The Bearcats return home this weekend for just their second homestand of the year. Willamette defeated both Concordia University, 96-93, and Southern Oregon University, 66-51, in December for a 2-0 record at Cone Field House this season. Overall, WU has won nine of its last 10 home contests.

Scouting the Opponents

Pacific University is an NCAA Division III member that competes with Willamette in the Northwest Conference. Second-year Head Coach Jason Lowery’s club is 5-5 on the season and 1-1 in the NWC. The Boxers are currently led statistically by Donn Harrison-Davis with 14.9 points per game, followed closely by Joe Van Domelen with 14.3 points per game and Ross Bartlett with 13.9 points per contest. Willamette swept two games from the Boxers a year ago.

Lewis and Clark College also competes in NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference. Long-time Head Coach Bob Gaillard’s team is 6-4 on the season, including 1-1 in the NWC. The Pioneers recently lost to an NCAA Division I opponent, the University of Portland, 74-64. Lewis & Clark currently has all five players averaging in double figures, with Mark Robinowitz, Joey Toboni and Corey Allen all averaging in the 13 points-per-game range. The Bearcats swept the season series from the Pioneers a year ago.