Pacific Lutheran Outscores Willamette, 106-88

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Pacific Lutheran University received 27 points from Scott McDaniels and 24 points from Josh Dressler, as the Lutes downed Willamette University, 106-88, on Saturday, Jan. 12. PLU managed just one more field goal than the Bearcats, and both teams shot well from 3-point range, but the Lutes hit 22 of 27 free throws, while WU went 7 of 13 at the line.

The win improved Pacific Lutheran's overall record to 7-5, including 3-1 in the NWC. Willamette moved to 4-9 overall, 2-2 in the NWC.

For Willamette, Kyler McClary (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) tallied 22 points and Mike Smith (Sr., Wing, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) chipped in 20 points. WU also benefited from double-digit scoring efforts by Corey Costantino (Jr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS), with 15 points, and by Tain Cantrell (Jr., Post, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS), with 10 points.

McClary hit 10 of 16 field goals and was 2 of 4 on three-pointers. He also grabbed five rebounds.

Smith connected on 7 of 10 shots from the field and was 4 of 7 from three-point range. Cantrell led the Bearcats with six rebounds and provided four assists. Freshman guard Robbie Kunke (Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) supplied a team-high five assists to go with nine points and five boards.

Willamette shot 54.7% from the field during the game (35 of 64), while converting 11 of 22 three-pointers. Pacific Lutheran sank 36 of 62 field goals (58.1%) and went 12 of 23 (52.2%) on 3-pointers.

McDaniels recorded his game-high point total by making 9 of 15 field goals and 9 of 11 free throws. Dressler sank 9 of 17 shots, including 5 of 10 long-range attempts.

Four other PLU players reached double figures. Kyle MacTaggart contributed 18 points, with 13 in the second half. Landon Heidenreich and Curtis Trondsen each finished with 11 points, while Gabe Smith tallied 10 points. Heidenreich led the Lutes with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Lutes scored the first nine points of the game and led 11-2 after Gabe Smith put in a layup with 17:08 remaining in the opening half. WU went on a 14-6 run to cut the margin to a single point at 17-16 with 14:24 on the clock.

Willamette tied the score, 24-24, on a 3-pointer by Mike Smith two and a half minutes later. The 'Cats moved in front 27-25 on another 3-pointer by Smith at the 10:59 mark. The pair of trifectas helped WU go on an 8-1 run that resulted in a 30-25 lead for the Bearcats.

PLU registered the next seven points for a 32-30 advantage with 8:47 left in the half. Willamette moved back in front two more times, before the Lutes used an 11-0 run to take a 45-35 lead at the 4:38 mark. Pacific Lutheran owned a 54-45 advantage at the break.

The Bearcats reduced the margin to single digits at 65-56 with 15:08 to go, following a 3-pointer by Simon Currie (Jr., Wing/Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS), but couldn't get any closer. PLU went on a 7-0 run to end WU's momentum and continued to hold a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

The Bearcats will play another NWC road game on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Pacific Lutheran University 106, Willamette University 88
Kyler McClary registered 22 points against Pacific Lutheran for his 12th double-digit game of the season.

Kyler McClary registered 22 points against Pacific Lutheran for his 12th double-digit game of the season.