Willamette Nearly Breaks Single Game Shooting Record with 69.8% in 119-108 Win over 13th-Ranked Puget Sound

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University and the University of Puget Sound met less than two months ago on Dec. 1, 2006, in a high-scoring game won by UPS, 140-137 in three overtimes. In the rematch at Willamette on Friday, Jan. 26, the teams provided fans with another offensive show, but this time the Bearcats combined near-record shooting from the field with a huge rebounding margin and 84.8% free throw shooting to defeat the 13th-ranked Loggers, 119-108, in a Northwest Conference game at Cone Field House. Willamette improved to 8-10 overall, 4-5 in the NWC. Puget Sound dropped to 14-3, 7-2 in the NWC.

Willamette connected on 37 of 53 shots for 69.8% accuracy, falling just short of the school record of 70.2% (33 of 47), set against Simon Fraser (Canada) on Jan. 28, 1972. The Bearcats also excelled at the foul line, where they converted 39 of 46 free throws against the Loggers. Willamette achieved a decisive 46-19 rebounding edge, including 40 defensive boards, which allowed the Bearcats to overcome 38 turnovers.

The Bearcats placed seven players in double figures led by sophomore post Kyler McClary (Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) and freshman wing/post Dan Nugent (Portland, OR/Jesuit HS), each with 21 points. Michael Smith (Jr., Wing, Phoenix, OR/Phoenix HS) added 20 points and was 8 of 11 from the floor. Nugent and McClary made key contributions at the foul line, where Nugent went 10 for 10 and McClary was 8 for 9.

Other double-digit scorers for Willamette were Ian Mansfield (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS), with 15 points, C.J. Stuvland (Sr., PG/Wing, Portland, OR/University of Oregon), who tallied 13 points, plus Rob Andrus (Sr., Wing, Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) and Corey Costantino (So., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) with 12 points each.

Nugent led Willamette’s rebounding efforts with a game-high nine boards. McClary and Smith each added seven rebounds, while Mansfield grabbed six caroms. Mansfield also led the ‘Cats with nine assists. Nugent recorded six assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

Puget Sound was paced by Ryan DeLong, who scored 22 points despite picking up three fouls in the first half. He had 11 points at halftime and eventually fouled out with 1:04 remaining in the game. Robert Krauel added 21 points for the Loggers, while Antwan Williams scored 19 points and Taylor Marsh chipped in 13 points. Also reaching double figures were Jason Foster, who scored 12 points, and Weston Wood, who provided UPS with 10 points.

UPS shot 44.8% on field goals during the game (39 of 87). The Loggers made 22 of 47 shots (46.8%) in the second half, but WU shot 73.3% (22 of 30) over the final 20 minutes. Puget Sound committed 17 turnovers and earned 19 steals.

Willamette led 51-46 at halftime, after ending the first period with a 14-8 run. Simon Currie (So., Wing/Post, Bend, OR/Mt. View HS) opened the run with a 3-pointer as the clock reached the 4:00 mark to give Willamette the lead for good at 40-38. McClary, who tallied four points during the run, led all players at halftime with 15 points.

In the second half, UPS pulled within 58-55 at the 16:33 mark, on a layup by Austin Boyce. The Loggers cut the lead to just two points, 66-64, when James Pinckney made a layup with 13:12 left.

Willamette took charge of the game by scoring 12 consecutive points in about two minutes for a 78-64 advantage with 11:11 remaining. The run started with a three-point play by Costantino and also included a fast-break dunk by Mansfield and a 3-point basket by Stuvland. Nugent and Tain Cantrell (So., Post, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS) each contributed one basket during the offensive outburst.

UPS eventually pulled within seven points at 107-100, following a layup by Krauel. WU scored the next three points to end threat, as Mansfield connected on one of two free throws at the 1:29 mark and Smith tacked on a layup with 1:16 to go.

The Bearcats’ 119-point performance tied for the fifth-highest score in school history. Willamette set the school record in the 140-137 triple-overtime loss at Puget Sound earlier this season. The previous record of 127 was set against Concordia on Dec. 13, 1985.

Willamette, now 3-1 through the first four games of a five-game homestand, will complete the string of home games on Saturday, Jan. 27, against NWC rival Pacific Lutheran University. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m (PST). The Lutes defeated Willamette, 90-84, on Dec. 2 in Tacoma, Wash.