Willamette's Rally Falls Short in 81-70 Loss at Whitman

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

(MEN'S BASKETBALL) WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- Whitman College defeated Willamette University, 81-70, on Saturday, Feb. 17 in a Northwest Conference men’s basketball game. The Missionaries concluded the season with a 9-16 overall record, including 5-11 in the NWC. Willamette ended the season at 10-15 overall, 6-10 in the NWC.

The Missionaries held a 37-29 lead at the half and extended the margin to as many as 16 points, 58-42, with 10:14 to go. The Bearcats rallied to within four points, 68-64, with 5:51 to go, following a steal and layup by Michael Smith (Jr., Wing, Phoenix, OR/Phoenix HS). Smith’s basket completed a 22-10 run by Willamette.

Whitman led by just five points, 71-66, with 5:14 on the clock. The Missionaries took control with a 7-0 run for a 78-66 advantage with 1:45 left. Kyle Born started the run with a rebound and tip-in and completed the run with a pair
of free throws.

Born had an outstanding game for the Missionaries and led an players with 26 points. He also earned game highs with 15 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Aaron Hazel added 17 points and 13 rebounds for Whitman, while Chris Faidley tacked on 14 points for the Missionaries.

Willamette was led by Smith and senior wing Rob Andrus (Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS), each with 13 points. Andrus also provided five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He concluded the season by scoring in double figures in 12 of Willamette’s final 14 games.

Simon Currie (So., Wing/Post, Bend OR/Mt. View HS) and Corey Costantino (So., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) contributed nine points apiece for the Bearcats. Three other Willamette players tacked on eight points each, including Dan Nugent (Fr., Wing/Post, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS), who also blocked three shots to end the year with 39 blocks for the season. Also scoring eight points were Kyler McClary (So., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) and C.J. Stuvland (Sr., Pt. Guard/Wing, Portland, OR/University of Oregon).

Tain Cantrell (So., Post, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS) grabbed six rebounds, as he tied Nugent for the Willamette lead. McClary matched Andrus with five boards, while Currie brought down four rebounds.

Whitman achieved a 48-34 rebounding edge and shot 43.3% from the field (23 of 67). The Missionaries hit 10 of 21 three-pointers (47.6%). The Bearcats shot 38.7% overall (24 of 62) and made 9 of 25 three-pointers (36.0%). Willamette sank 13 of 14 free throws, as the ‘Cats finished the year at 75.9% from the charity stripe (423 of 557).

In the first half, Whitman surged out to a 9-2 lead, but Willamette went on a 14-8 run to drop the margin to a single point, 17-16, with 9:02 on the clock. The Missionaries scored the next five points, only to have Willamette counter with five points of its own, including a 3-pointer by Costantino with 6:33 left to get the ‘Cats within 22-21.

Whitman held off the rally by Willamette and eventually claimed an eight-point halftime lead. Chris Faidley scored the final points of the first period on a 3-pointer for the Missionaries with eight seconds remaining.