Willamette Ends Game with 10-0 Run to Defeat Pacific, 62-57

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior wing Mike Smith (Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key as the clock moved inside one minute remaining, breaking a 57-57 tie and helping Willamette defeat Pacific University, 62-57, in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, Jan. 25. The Bearcats trailed 57-52 at Cone Field House with 2:53 remaining, but ended the game with a 10-0 run.

Willamette improved to 4-3 in the NWC with the win, while moving to 6-10 on the season. Pacific fell to 3-4 in NWC action, as the Boxers went to 5-11 overall.

The Bearcats led 50-48 with 6:17 to go, following a 3-pointer by Kyler McClary (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS), but Pacific used a trio of three-point baskets to take a five-point lead. Donnie Harrison-Davis gave the Boxers a 51-50 advantage by sinking a 3-pointer at the 5:54 mark.

Garold Howe added a 3-pointer with 5:13 left to increase the Pacific's margin to four-points, 54-50. Cameron Mitchell (So., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) put in a quality jumper from the right baseline for Willamette with 3:28 left. On Pacific's next possession, Howe was closely guarded, but hit a 3-pointer from 27 feet away as the shot clock expired. It was Pacific's final basket of the game.

WU answered with a jumper and a foul shot by Mitchell with 2:28 remaining, then tied the game on two free throws by Corey Costantino (Jr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) at the 1:31 mark. Smith sent WU into the lead with a tie-breaking 3-pointer and Robbie Kunkie (Fr., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) clinched the win by hitting 2 of 4 free throws in the final 35 seconds.

Smith was Willamette's top scorer with 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting, including three 3-pointers. McClary contributed 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Mitchell finished with eight points and a game-high nine boards, while Kunke contributed six points and, six rebounds and seven assists.

Pacific was led by Howe, who scored 21 points and went 4 of 7 on three-pointers. Joe Van Domelen provided 13 points and seven rebounds. Harrison-Davis also tallied 13 points for the Boxers and supplied six rebounds.

The Bearcats held leads of 8-0 and 13-1 in the first half, before Pacific rallied to tie the score at 16-16. Willamette led 23-16, but Pacific equalized at 23-23 on a 3-pointer by Howe. WU claimed a 28-23 halftime advantage by ending the first period with a 3-pointer from Simon Currie (Jr., Wing/Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS) at the 1:42 mark and a short jumper by Tain Cantrell (Jr., Post, Beaverton, OR/Westview HS) at the buzzer.

The second half featured six ties and eight lead changes. Willamette finished the game with a 37-36 rebounding margin, but committed 12 turnovers, while Pacific lost the ball just six times.

WU was 21 of 49 from the field (42.9%) and 6 of 15 on 3-point shots. The Boxers were 18 of 54 (33.3%) on field goals, including just 20.7% (6 of 29) in the first half. Pacific made 7 of 18 three-pointers. Both teams went 14 of 22 at the line (63.6%).

The Bearcats will remain at home to take on the University of Puget Sound (13-2, 6-1 NWC) on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. (PST). The Loggers, ranked #11 in NCAA Division III by D3Hoops.com, won at Lewis & Clark on Friday (Jan. 25), 92-87 in overtime. Last year, Willamette lost at UPS, 140-137 in three overtimes, then defeated the Loggers, 119-108 in Salem, Ore.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 62, Pacific University 57
Mike Smith scored 19 points against Pacific, including a 3-pointer to break a 57-57 tie.

Mike Smith scored 19 points against Pacific, including a 3-pointer to break a 57-57 tie.