McClary and Mitchell Each Score 16 Points, as Bearcats Down Lewis & Clark, 82-77

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Junior post Kyler McClary (Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) and sophomore post Cameron Mitchell (Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) produced 16 points apiece, leading Willamette University to an 82-77 victory over Lewis & Clark College in a key Northwest Conference game, Saturday, Feb. 16 at Cone Field House. Willamette regained sole possession of third place in the NWC at 9-5, while Lewis & Clark moved into a tie for fourth place at 8-6.

Willamette upped its overall record to 11-12, while improving to 7-2 in its last nine games. L&C dropped to 14-8 on the season.

The Bearcats led 78-72 after a layup by McClary with 41 seconds left, but Lewis & Clark battled back within a single point. Thomas Tillery of L&C, who led all players with 32 points, put in a layup and was fouled with 33 seconds left. He converted the free throw, cutting WU's lead to 78-75.

Willamette's Robbie Kunke (Fr., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) was fouled by Joey Toboni two seconds later and went to the foul line in a one-and-one situation. Kunke missed the free throw and Toboni rebounded for L&C. The Pioneers committed a turnover with 24 second left.

L&C was called for its ninth foul of the half with 19 seconds to go, when Nick Thierry reached around Corey Costantino (Jr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS). Costantino missed the one-and-one and L&C rebounded. Tillery drove to the basket for a layup with nine seconds left to cut WU's lead to 78-77.

Costantino hit two free throws less than a second later to give the Bearcats a three-point lead. The Pioneers wasted little time getting down the floor, but Toboni failed on a 3-point shot at the six-second mark. Costantino grabbed the rebound and sank two more free throws with two seconds remaining to secure the win. He finished with 11 points and was one of five Bearcats in double figures.

McClary scored his 16 points on 7 of 16 shooting, including a pair of 3-point baskets. He also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Mitchell reached 16 points by connected on 5 of 7 field goals and 5 of 6 free throws. He snagged six boards, helping WU achieve a 39-30 rebounding edge.

Also reaching double figures for Willamette were Mike Smith (Sr., Wing, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) and Simon Currie (Jr., Wing/Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS). Smith contributed 14 points to go with four assists, four rebounds and two steals. Currie tacked on 13 points and was 5 for 5 from the field, including three 3-pointers.

Tillery scored 16 points in each half for L&C. He finished the game 14 of 19 on field goals and 4 of 6 at the free throw line. He also provided five assists and three steals.

Toboni tallied 16 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Pioneers. Tyson Papenfuss chipped in 11 points and seven boards.

During the first seven minutes of the game there were three ties and three lead changes. The Pioneers used a 7-2 run to move out to a 21-15 lead at the 11:36 mark. WU registered the next basket, but Lewis & Clark responded with a 13-2 run, including three baskets by Tillery and a 3-pointer by Mark Robinowitz. Willamette trailed 33-19 with 6:39 left in the half.

Willamette used a 22-9 run to pull within a 42-41 at the intermission. Two 3-pointers by Currie and a 3-pointer by McClary contributed to the offensive surge.

Even so, L&C held a 42-38 lead and had possession of the ball late in the half. Tillery drove hard toward the basket and missed a layup with seven seconds left, while colliding with a Willamette player.

McClary latched onto the rebound and sent the ball to point guard Ricky Thompson (Fr., Temecula, CA/Temecula Valley HS). Thompson moved across mid-court, then squared up with the basket and launched a 40-foot shot that swished through the net at the buzzer.

The second period began with two ties and four lead changes in the first 4:12, ending with a jumper by Tillery that gave L&C a 51-50 lead. The Pioneers increased the margin to five points, 55-50, with 12:46 remaining, but a basket by Smith and a 3-pointer by Mitchell tied the game just over a minute later.

A layup by Mitchell at the 10:36 mark extended WU's scoring streak to seven points, as the 'Cats took the lead. Two more ties followed -- the seventh and eighth of the night -- before WU moved in front for good, 61-59, on a layup by Ian Mansfield (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS) with 8:16 left.

Manfield's basket started an 8-0 run that gave Willamette a 66-59 margin with 6:38 to play. Willamette also held a 74-66 advantage with 4:07 on the clock.

Lewis & Clark eventually reduced the lead to 74-71, following a jumper by Gene Rivera with 2:06 remaining. Mitchell sank two charity shots for WU at the 1:19 mark and Rivera made one free throw for L&C with 1:10 left. Willamette entered the final minute with a 76-72 edge on the Pioneers.

The Bearcats shot 48.3% for the game (29 of 60), including 53.8% in the second half (14 of 26). Willamette put through 10 of 22 three-point shots (45.5%) and made 14 of 19 free throws.

L&C connected on 52.5% of its field goals (31 of 59), but sank only 13 of 32 shots in the second half (40.6%). The Pioneers were 7 of 21 on 3-pointers and made just 8 of 18 free throws (44.4%)

Willamette will conclude the regular season with a pair of road games. The 'Cats are scheduled to play at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., on Friday, Feb. 22, before traveling to Tacoma, Wash., to take on the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Feb. 23. Game time each night is slated for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 82, Lewis & Clark College 77
Kyler McClary scored 16 points against Lewis & Clark for his 22nd double-digit scoring effort in 23 games this season.

Kyler McClary scored 16 points against Lewis & Clark for his 22nd double-digit scoring effort in 23 games this season.