Kip's Corner 2008-09: Bearcat Hoop Internet Release #2

By Kip Ioane

Despite Slow Start, Bearcats Upbeat as they Head to California:
The Willamette University Bearcats opened the 2008-09 men's basketball season on a sour note this past weekend (Nov. 21-22), losing to the College of Idaho and Eastern Oregon University at the Duane Wolfe Memorial Golden Rue Shootout in Caldwell, Idaho. Willamette faces another daunting road trip this weekend, as the Bearcats head to California for NCAA Division III West Region match-ups with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona Pitzer.

Recap from Last Weekend
Defense was WU’s main problem in Idaho, as the Bearcats found themselves in constant catch-up mode against the Coyotes and Mountaineers. The ‘Cats averaged 70.0 points per game, but gave up more than 90 points in back-to-back contests. The lone bright spot was the play of junior post Cameron Mitchell, who earned All-Tournament honors by averaging 22.0 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.

Statistically Speaking
Willamette currently ranks second in the Northwest Conference in offensive rebounds with 16.0 offensive boards per game. The Bearcats are third in the NWC in total rebounding with 39.5 rebounds per contest.

Individually, Mitchell ranks first in the NWC in rebounding at 13.5 boards per game and is second in the conference in scoring with 22.0 points per night. Corey Costantino is sixth in 3-point shooting percentage (66.7%, 4 of 6), and Robbie Kunke is second in blocked shots per game (1.5).

WU’s Record is Even Steven at Golden Rule Shootout
Willamette’s two losses over the weekend evened their all-time record in the Duane Wolfe Memorial Golden Rule Shootout at 7-7. The two losses marked the first time the ‘Cats had lost two in a row in Idaho since back-to-back setbacks against Northwest Nazarene University and Albertson College of Idaho (now C of I) during the 1998-99 season.

Bearcats Hope to Snap Losing Streak
While playing in California this weekend, Willamette will be looking to end a five-game losing streak that includes the final three games of last season. WU lost to Pacific University and the University of Puget Sound to end the regular season in 2007-08, and also dropped the NWC semifinal game to Puget Sound last year. The streak reached five games with WU’s losses at the Golden Rule Shootout.

Projected Depth Chart for this Weekend

Point Guard
Starter - Robbie Kunke
Back-up - Josh Erickson/Marcus Holmes

Shooting Guard
Starter - Corey Costantino
Back-up - Ricky Thompson

Starter - Nick Babij
Back-up - Rob Wood/Simon Currie

Starter - Kyler McClary
Back-up - Tain Cantrell

Starter - Cameron Mitchell
Back-up - Taylor Mounts/Simon Currie

Bearcat Hoopers on the Gridiron
Two Bearcat Hoop members are helping Willamette’s football team during its historic run this season. Quarterback Grant Leslie and wide receiver Scott Schoettgen are both key players for Willamette’s nationally-ranked football team.

The pair hooked up for a touchdown over the weekend during WU’s NCAA first round playoff win over Occidental College, 48-33, at McCulloch Stadium. WU hosts the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday (Nov. 29) in the second round of the playoffs (Round of 16). Leslie and Schoettgen will join the basketball team whenever the football team’s remarkable run comes to an end.

Scouting the Opponents
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and competes in NCAA Division III. The Stags and Head Coach Ken Scalmanini are currently 1-1 on the season. C-M-S is led by guards Jason Toney and Conner Faught. Toney is averaging 10.5 points per game and Faught has scored 9.5 points per contest. Forward Chris Blees is the top scorer with 12.5 points per game, while Austin Soldner adds 10.0 points per game. The Stags and the Bearcats last met during the 2006-07 campaign, with Claremont defeating the visiting Bearcats, 60-50.

Pomona-Pitzer is also a member of the SCIAC and is a member of NCAA Division III. Head Coach Charles Katsiafica’s team is currently 0-2 on the season. The Sagehens are powered by scoring leaders David Liss and Adam Chaimowitz. Liss has provided 15.0 points per game, while Chaimowitz has averaged 14.5 points per game. Former WU player P.J. McDevitt (2001-04) is an assistant coach on the Pomona-Pitzer staff. Willamette dropped its last visit to Pomona in 2006-07 by a score of 80-68.

Cameron Mitchell is WU's leading scorer and rebounder so far this season.

Cameron Mitchell is WU's leading scorer and rebounder so far this season.