George Fox Holds Off Late Rally by Bearcats for 75-70 Win

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

SALEM, ORE. -- George Fox University hit eight of its first 11 shots to take a 20-9 lead, then held off a rally by Willamette in the closing minutes, to earn a 75-70 victory over the Bearcats in Northwest Conference action at Cone Field House on Friday, Jan. 23. George Fox won its second game in a row to improve to 6-10 overall, 2-5 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 8-6, including 4-3 in the NWC.

Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) of Willamette tied a career high for scoring with 30 points. He previously scored 30 points against Pacific University last season on Feb. 22, 2008. Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) led all players with 12 rebounds. Mitchell also scored nine points.

Alex Stockner topped the Bruins with 18 points. Jack Martin contributed 17 points, six assists and a team-high 11 rebounds. Evan Atwater registered 15 points and nine boards.

WU trailed by eight points, 67-59, with 5:06 remaining, after GFU scored on a jumper by Stockner. The Bearcats went on an 11-4 run to cut the lead to a single point, 71-70. The run ended with back-to-back 3-pointers by McClary with 1:52 and 1:07 left.

Later, the 'Cats had a chance to take the lead, but committed a turnover with 21 seconds remaining. Joe Ahn added two free throws for the Bruins, who took a 73-70 lead with 17 seconds on the clock.

Josh Erickson (Sr., G, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds to go, but Mitchell hauled down the rebound to give Willamette another chance. The GFU defense forced a loose ball and Nick Babij (Sr., G, Ontario, OR/Ontario HS) dove to the floor to gain control for the Bearcats. Willamette called a timeout with three seconds left.

When play resumed, the Bruins caused a turnover near the sideline. Martin scored the final two points at the free throw line with 1.8 seconds left.

Both teams made 27 field goals and WU held an 11-9 advantage in 3-pointers, but George Fox gained an edge at the free throw line. The Bruins sank 12 of 15 charity shots. Willamette was 5 of 13 at the line.

GFU's early success on field goals forced the Bearcats to rally throughout the game. The Bruins owned a 29-18 advantage with 7:59 remaining in the first half, but Willamette used to a 13-6 run to cut the margin to 35-31 at the intermission.

Later, the Bearcats trailed 49-38 at the 15:28 mark in the second half. Erickson scored five points, including a 3-pointer, to lead Willamette on a 9-2 run to get within four points at 51-47 with 11:52 on the clock. The 'Cats reduced the deficit to three points at 54-51 and 67-64, before making their final surge in the last two minutes.

Willamette outrebounded the Bruins, 42-37. In addition to 12 rebounds from Mitchell and eight by McClary, the Bearcats also received seven boards from Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS).

The Bearcats will travel to Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday, Jan. 24 to take on the University of Puget Sound. Game time against the Loggers, who are atop the NWC at 7-0, is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

George Fox University 75
Willamette University 70
Kyler McClary tied a career high by scoring 30 points against the Bruins.

Kyler McClary tied a career high by scoring 30 points against the Bruins.

Nick Babij scored eight points and earned five rebounds.

Nick Babij scored eight points and earned five rebounds.