Willamette Builds 21-Point Lead in First Half, as Bearcats Rout Pacific Lutheran, 90-67

SALEM, ORE. -- Junior post Ian Mansfield (Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) scored 16 points to lead five Willamette University players in double figures, as the Bearcats routed visiting Pacific Lutheran University, 90-67, on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Cone Field House. Willamette held a 43-22 halftime lead and remained in front by more than 20 points for most of the second half. The Bearcats improved to 9-10 overall, while evening their Northwest Conference record at 5-5. Pacific Lutheran fell to 7-10 overall, 4-6 in the NWC.

Mansfield connected on 6 of 11 field goals for the Bearcats. He also grabbed six rebounds and earned four assists. Mansfield has scored in double figures in 11 games this season, including four of Willamette’s last five games.

Other Willamette players in double figures were senior wing Rob Andrus (Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) with 15 points, sophomore wing Corey Costantino (Ashland, OR/Ashland HS), who chipped in 14 points, junior wing Michael Smith (Phoenix, OR/Phoenix HS) with 12 points on the night, and freshman wing/post Dan Nugent (Portland, OR/Jesuit HS), who tallied 11 points. Andrus did not miss a shot, as he went 4 for 4 from the field (1 for 1 on 3-pointers) and hit 6 of 6 free throws. Costantino nailed 6 of 8 field goal attempts, while Smith grabbed five rebounds and Nugent registered seven boards to go with three blocked shots.

Andrus has reached double figures in seven of Willamette’s last eight contests. Nugent continues to lead the NWC in blocked shots with 34 (1.8 per game).

Pacific Lutheran led 3-0 and 5-2 at the start of the game, but WU answered with a 5-0 run to take a 7-5 lead. The teams were tied at 7-7 before Nugent scored to put the ‘Cat in front for good with 14:22 left in the first half. Nugent’s basket started a 6-0 run by Willamette, giving the Bearcats a 13-7 edge.

PLU cut the lead to two points, 17-15, on a jumper by Jared Brandeberry at the 9:05 mark. The Bearcats responded with an 11-0 offensive outburst for a 28-15 margin with 3:58 remaining in the opening period. Costantino recorded six points during the run.

The Lutes tallied two free throws, before Willamette concluded the half with a 15-7 run, increasing the lead to 21 points. Andrus led all players with 10 points at the break.

For the game, Pacific Lutheran was led by Lawrence Brooks, who scored 14 points and made three of the Lutes’ eight 3-point baskets. PLU was 8 of 24 overall on 3-point attempts. Josh Dressler tacked on 13 points for the Lutes, while Josh Vandlandingham contributed 10 points.

Scott McDaniels of PLU led all players with eight rebounds, while Brandeberry added six boards. Brandeberry, who entered the game as the Lutes’ second leading scorer with 13.2 points per game, was held to five points by the Bearcats.

The Lutes shot just 26.9% in the first half (7 of 26), then connected on 39.0% of their shots (16 of 41) in the second half. Pacific Lutheran was 13 of 21 on free throws (61.9%)

The Bearcats hit 50.0% of their shots from the floor (33 of 66) and converted 18 of 30 free throws (60.0%). WU committed a season-low nine turnovers, while forcing PLU to lose the ball 15 times. The ‘Cats blocked five shots during the game.

Willamette concluded its five-game homestand with a 4-1 record, losing only to nationally-ranked Whitworth College on Jan. 19. The Bearcats will play just one more home game this season, when they host George Fox University on Friday, Feb. 9. Willamette’s remaining schedule includes five games on the road, starting with a trip to NWC opponent Pacific University on Friday, Feb. 2. Game time in Forest Grove, Ore., is set for 8 p.m. (PST).