Puget Sound Holds Off Willamette for 87-82 Win

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Jason Foster scored 17 points and Austin Boyce contributed seven points in the final 3:10, as the University of Puget Sound held off Willamette University for an 87-82 win in the semifinal game of the Northwest Conference Tournament, Thursday, Feb. 28 at Memorial Fieldhouse. UPS, which edged Willamette 127-121 in two overtimes on Feb. 23, improved to 19-6 overall. The Bearcats concluded the season with an 11-15 record.

UPS will travel to Spokane, Wash., on Saturday, March 1 to take on regular season champion Whitworth University in the NWC Championship game. Whitworth won the NWC with a 12-4 conference mark, while UPS was 11-5 and Willamette was 9-7.

The Loggers held a slim 72-71 advantage with 4:38 remaining. A basket by Antwan Williams extended the lead to three points, then Boyce tacked on a jumper with 3:10 to go. After WU pulled within 76-75 on a pair of free throws by Corey Costantino (Jr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) with 2:11 on the clock, Boyce responded with a 3-pointer at the 1:05 mark. He added two free throws in a one-and-one situation with 39 seconds left, as UPS claimed an 83-77 lead.

Kyler McClary (Jr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) reduced the margin to 83-80 on a 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining. Foster put in two free throws for UPS three seconds later and Williams sank two free throws with 14 seconds left, as the Loggers secured the win.

The score was tied at 9-9 just a few minutes into the game, but Willamette went on a 12-2 run to take a 21-11 advantage with 13:25 left in the first half. WU's lead quickly disappeared as the Loggers' full-court pressure and long-range shooting led to a trio of 3-point baskets and one two-pointer, giving UPS a 22-21 lead at the 11:53 mark.

Puget Sound eventually increased the margin to double digits for a 43-31 lead with 4:38 remaining in the half. The Bearcats countered with a comeback of their own, as WU scored the next 10 points to pull within 43-31 on an inside basket by Ian Mansfield (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Century HS). The run included four points by Costantino, who led all players with 17 points in the first half.

UPS scored the final two points of the first half on a jum shot by Steffond Brown with two seconds on the clock. At halftime, the Loggers had nine players on the scoring chart, including Jason Foster, Taylor Marsh and Weston Wood with eight points each. Costantino topped WU at the break and was followed by Mike Smith (Sr., Wing, Talent, OR/Phoenix HS) with 13 points.

The pace of the game slowed down in the second half, but the intensity remained high. Willamette pulled within 52-50 on a basket by Costantino, but UPS countered with a 6-0 run on a pair of three-pointers for a 58-50 edge.

Puget Sound extended the lead to nine points, 65-56, when Antwan Williams hit two free throws after Mansfield blocked his shot, but was called for a foul. Willamette trailed 68-58 before the 'Cats used a 7-0 surge to cut the deficit to five points. Robbie Kunke (Fr., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) sank the front end of a one-and-one with 7:47 left, then added a basket seconds later, after a WU rebound to complete the run.

Later, McClary hit two free throws to cut the lead to 72-71. McClary ended the game with 13 points. Smith scored 17 points for the Bearcats, while Cameron Mitchell (So., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) provided a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Williams scored 16 points to join Foster and Boyce in double figures for UPS. Taylor Marsh contributed 13 points for the Loggers.

For More Information:
Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

BOX SCORE
University of Puget Sound 87, Willamette University 82
Corey Costantino scored 23 points and hit three 3-pointers in the NWC Tournament against Puget Sound.

Corey Costantino scored 23 points and hit three 3-pointers in the NWC Tournament against Puget Sound.