Mitchell Scores 24, Grabs 19 Boards, as WU Downs SOU, 95-81

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS) scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, as Willamette University defeated visiting Southern Oregon University, 95-81, in a non-conference game at Cone Field House on Monday, Dec. 29. Willamette moved above the .500 mark at 4-3 on the season, while Southern Oregon dropped to 3-9.

Robbie Kunke (So., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) also provided WU with a double-double by scoring 15 points and earning 11 assists. He also provided the Bearcats with four steals. Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) scored 17 points.

Scott Tiefenthaler led the Raiders with 21 points and eight rebounds. Humphrey Jackson scored 19 points for SOU.

Willamette trailed 4-1 and 9-6 early in the game, but led for most of the contest. An 8-0 run gave the Bearcats a 14-9 advantage. After SOU tallied the next basket, WU responded with a 13-6 surge to take a 27-17 lead with 10:40 remaining in the half.

The 'Cats extended the margin to 20 points, 50-30, following a basket and foul shot by Kunke with 3:01 left in the period. SOU scored the next six points, including four free throws by Ryon Pool, but the Bearcats responded with a 3-pointer by Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) at the 25-second mark. Josh McDermott hit one of two charity shots for the Raiders with eight seconds remaining. WU led at halftime, 53-37.

Mitchell already had 14 points and eight rebounds at the break. Kunke registered six assists in the first half, while McClary scored eight points. Jackson had nine points for SOU.

Willamette opened the second half with a 9-2 run to increase the lead to 62-29 with 16:16 remaining. Corey Costantino (Sr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) completed the run with a 3-point basket.

The Bearcats remained in front by 20 or more points until the 8:35 mark, when Southern Oregon pulled within 76-57 on a free throw by McDermott. Kunke provided WU with a three-point play 19 seconds later, but the Raiders followed with a 12-2 run to get within 12 points, 81-69, at the 4:17 mark. The run began with a 3-pointer by Andrew Shipley and ended with a trifecta by Tiefenthaler.

Southern Oregon never got closer. After the teams exchanged baskets following Tiefenthaler's 3-pointer, the Bearcats went on a 7-0 run to claim a 90-71 advantage with 2:53 to go. McClary started the outburst with a 3-pointer, while Mitchell added a layup and Kunke tacked on two free throws.

WU shot 47.3% for the game (35 of 74), including 52.6% in the first half (20 of 38). The Bearcats held Southern Oregon to 45.3% shooting on the night (29 of 64). The Raiders hit on just 43.8% of their shots (14 of 32) in the first half.

Willamette gained a 43-41 rebounding edge and committed just 11 turnovers. Southern Oregon lost the ball 14 times.

Mitchell set a career high with his 19 rebounds. His previous high was 16 boards against Whitworth University last season on Feb. 2, 2008. Kunke's 11 assists matched his career high, recorded against Pacific University on Feb. 22, 2008.

The Bearcats will open Northwest Conference play on Friday, Jan. 2 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST). Willamette will play at Linfield College on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m., and will host Whitworth in the Bearcats' NWC home opener on Friday, Jan. 9, also at 8 p.m.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 95
Southern Oregon University 81
Cameron Mitchell scored 24 points and earned a career-high 19 boards against the Raiders.

Cameron Mitchell scored 24 points and earned a career-high 19 boards against the Raiders.

Robbie Kunke tied his career high with 11 assists versus Southern Oregon.

Robbie Kunke tied his career high with 11 assists versus Southern Oregon.