Whitworth Hits 64% in Second Half, as Pirates Claim 79-66 Victory over Bearcats

Nugent Scores 17 Points (15 in First Half) for Willamette

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University held a 15-4 lead, but 10th-ranked Whitworth College led 37-34 at halftime, then shot 64% (16 of 25) in the second half, as the Pirates downed the Bearcats, 79-66, Friday, Jan. 19 at Cone Field House. Whitworth improved to 16-1 on the season and remained in first place in the Northwest Conference at 7-1. The Pirates, ranked #10 in NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, are one-half game in front of the University of Puget Sound (6-1) in the conference standings. Willamette saw its record move to 6-10 overall, 2-5 in the NWC.
Willamette started the game strong, with Dan Nugent (Fr., Wing/Post, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) leading the way.

Nugent opened the scoring with a 3-pointer at the 18:56 mark, then sandwiched two more 3-pointers between two of his own layups over the next 5:36, as he provided 13 points in Willamette’s 15-4 run to open the game. Ian Mansfield (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) added a jumper following Nugent’s first layup for a 7-4 lead, before Nugent tallied the final eight points of the offensive surge.

The Pirates tallied with a 13-0 run of their won. Five different players scored during the run, with William Hardy providing four consecutive points to tied the game and Calvin Jurich adding the final points on a layup to give Whitworth a 17-15 lead with 8:51 left in the half.

Whitworth was in front, 32-25, with 3:27 remaining in the period, but the Bearcats battled to pull within 34-32 when Kyler McClary (So., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) scored on a fast break and was intentionally fouled with 28 seconds on the clock. McClary completed the unusual four-point play by hitting both free throws and tying the score at 34-34.

WU kept possession following the intentional foul, but missed a 3-pointer several seconds later. The Pirates held the ball for the final shot of the half and moved back in front, 37-34, when Bryan Williams connected on a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.

The Pirates owned a 48-42 lead with 14:23 left in the game, but shot out to a 66-44 lead with an 18-2 run over the next six minutes. Whitworth’s offensive explosion included four 3-pointers, including three by Jon Young.

Willamette scored the next eight points to get within 66-52 at the 7:48 mark, but couldn’t get closer until the final two minutes. Rob Andrus (Sr., Wing, Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) connected on two free throws with 1:36 left and added a jumper with 1:25 to go, as the Bearcats reduced the lead to 10 points at 75-65. Whitworth scored the next points on a layup by Kevin Hasenfus just 13 seconds later, as the Pirates continued to maintain a double-digit lead.

Hasenfus led all scorers with 21 points. He was 8 of 13 on field goals and 5 for 5 at the line. Hasenfus also was the game’s top rebounder with nine boards. Ryan Symes added 12 points for the Pirates on 6-of-9 shooting. Young, who was 3 of 9 from 3-point range, but recorded all three of his trifectas during WC’s decisive run, finished with 11 points. Williams tacked on 10 points, as did Steve Stockton. Jurich scored eight points and hauled down eight boards.

Nugent scored 17 points for the Bearcats on the night, but was limited by the Pirates to just two points in the second half. He also blocked four shots and registered four of Willamette’s six steals. Nugent entered the game as the NWC’s top shot blocker and now has 27 blocks in 16 games (1.69 avg.).

Joining Nugent in double figures for Willamette were Andrus with 12 points and McClary with 10 points. McClary went 8 for 8 at the line, while Andrus converted 7 of 7 charity shots. Overall, the Bearcats were 22 of 25 (88.0%) at the line.

McClary was Willamette’s top player on the glass, as he brought down eight boards. The Bearcats shot 39.1% on field goals during the game (18 of 46), including 36.4% (8 of 22) in the second half. WU was just 8 of 26 (30.8%) on three-pointers.

Whitworth achieved a 36-21 rebounding edge. The Pirates shot 51.7% overall (31 of 60) and made 8 of 19 three-pointers (42.1%). Whitworth connected on 9 of 11 free throws (81.8%).

The game marked the return of C.J. Stuvland (Sr., Point Guard, Portland, OR/University of Oregon) to the lineup for Willamette. Stuvland, a First Team All-NWC selection in 2005-06, was cleared to play earlier this month, but has been battling an ankle injury. He saw his first action of the season against the Pirates, but still missed part of the second half due to his injury, and completed the night with 24 minutes played.

Willamette will play the third game in its five-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 20, when the Bearcats host Whitman College. Tip-off at Cone Field House is set for 6 p.m. (PST). WU will enter Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record in the homestand.