Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Edges Willamette, 71-69

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- Willamette University fell to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first round of the David Wells Classic, 71-69, on Friday, Nov. 28 at Ducey Gymnasium. The Bearcats dropped to 0-3 overall, while CMS improved to 2-1.

Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) led WU with 14 points. Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/University of Redlands) scored 11 points and hauled down 11 rebounds.

Robbie Kunke (So., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) contributed 10 points and four assists for the Bearcats, while Josh Erickson (Sr., PG, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) chipped in 10 points and went 3 for 5 from 3-point range. Corey Costantino (Sr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) added nine points and four rebounds.

The Stags of CMS received a game-high 18 points from Austin Soldner, who made 6 of 8 field goals, including two 3-pointers, and went 4-for-5 at the free throw line. Jason Toney tacked on 12 points and Conner Faught earned 10 points.

Willamette trailed at halftime, 34-32, but took a 40-39 lead on a layup by Mitchell with 16:41 left. The Bearcats eventually increased the margin to 10 points at 58-48, following a jump shot by Kunke at the 7:33 mark.

The 'Cats owned a 63-56 lead before the Stags began their decisive run with less than four minutes to go. Baskets by Michael Bagby and Chris Blees cut the margin to 63-60 with 3:11 on the clock. Bagby tacked on a free throw with 2:45 left, as Kunke fouled out. The Stags tied the game at 63-63 on a layup by Toney with 2:06 remaining.

Mitchell missed a pair of free throws for WU with 1:35 to go, and Soldner put CMS into the lead for good with a 3-pointer at the 1:17 mark. WU missed a 3-pointer at the other end with just over a minute left, and Faught grabbed the rebound for the Stags. Soldner hit two free throws with 38 seconds left to increase the lead to 68-63.

Erickson sank a 3-point shot for the Bearcats with 26 second remaining to cut the deficit to two points. Toney was fouled seven seconds later and made the first of two free throws. Mitchell grabbed the rebound for WU following the second shot, but McClary missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

Mitchell grabbed the offensive board, but Blees stole the ball and sent it forward to Toney, who added an insurance layup. McClary scored on a 3-pointer as time expired.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps shot 53.1% from the field (26 of 49), while Willamette shot 44.0% (22 of 50). Both teams hit 7 of 17 three-point attempts (41.2%). Willamette sank six more free throws than the Stags, as the 'Cats made 18 of 28 and CMS connected on 12 of 22. WU also achieved a 36-27 rebounding edge, including 13 offensive boards.

The Bearcats will conclude the tournament by taking on the other co-host, Pomona-Pitzer, on Saturday, Nov. 29. Game time on the Pomona-Pitzer campus is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Sagehens opened the tournament with a 69-56 victory over Oberlin College (Ohio) on Friday, Nov. 28.

BOX SCORE
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 71
Willamette University 69
(David Wells Classic)
Kyler McClary led WU with 14 points against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Kyler McClary led WU with 14 points against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.