Lewis & Clark Goes on 19-1 Run Late in First Half, as Pioneers Defeat Willamette, 76-66

SALEM, ORE. -- Lewis & Clark College went on a 19-1 run late in the first half and never trailed again, as the Pioneers defeated Willamette University, 76-66, on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Cone Field House. L&C trailed 24-22 with 9:32 left in the opening period, but held the Bearcats to a single point over the next 6:51, as the Pioneers took a 41-25 lead. Lewis & Clark was in front 41-30 at halftime and led by double digits until Willamette pulled within eight points with 17 seconds left.

The Pioneers, who lost by just 10 points to NCAA Division I opponent the University of Portland, 74-64, on Dec. 31, improved to 8-4 overall, 3-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 5-8 overall, 1-3 in the NWC.

Jeff Christensen and Mark Robinowitz each scored 15 points for Lewis & Clark, while Thomas Tillery provided 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. L&C was in front 66-45 with 8:44 left in the game and owned a 74-57 advantage at the 2:04 mark, before Willamette made its final run.

Willamette was led by Michael Smith (Jr., Wing, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS), with 19 points, including two 3-pointers and a 9-for-9 effort at the line. Rob Andrus (Sr., Wing, Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) chipped in 13 points. Kyler McClary (So., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) scored 12 points for WU, while recording a team-high six rebounds.

Lewis & Clark built a 19-13 lead over the game’s first eight minutes, but Willamette countered with a 11-3 run to move in front, 24-22. Smith and Andrus each hit a 3-pointer during the run. Smith completed the offensive surge with a jumper and a foul shot at the 9:32 mark.

Robinowitz nailed two 3-pointers and a jumper during the ensuing run by the Pioneers. Lewis & Clark also received five points from Christensen as part of the rally.

The only point for the Bearcats during the run by Lewis & Clark was a free throw by Andrus at the 3:10 mark, as WU ended a scoreless streak of 6:22, while cutting the Pioneers’ lead to 39-25. Willamette’s next points were scored with 2:02 remaining in the half, on a layup by McClary, as the ‘Cats again cut the lead to 14 points. Ian Mansfield (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) ended the first half scoring with a 3-pointer for Willamette as the clock moved past the 1:00 mark.

For the game, Lewis & Clark shot 49.1% (27 of 55), including 9 of 23 (39.1%) on 3-pointers. The Pioneers achieved a 36-31 rebounding margin, but hit just 13 of 22 free throws (59.1%), including 3 of 10 in the second half.

Willamette connected on 39.6% of its field goals (21 of 53) and made 18 of 21 free throws (85.7%). The Bearcats converted 16 of 18 charity shots in the second half. WU also made 6 of 14 three-pointers (42.9%) during the game.

The Bearcats return to action on Friday, Jan. 12 with an NWC game at George Fox University. Game time in Newberg, Ore., is slated for 8 p.m. (PST). WU will be back at Cone Field House on Saturday, Jan. 13, to take on Linfield College in an NWC contest at 8 p.m. (PST).