Kip's Corner 2008-09: Bearcat Hoop Internet Release #7

By Kip Ioane

Bearcats Earn Split on Road; One Weekend Remains in First Conference Round Robin:
The Willamette University’s Bearcats overcame the Lewis and Clark College Pioneers over a three-day stretch, in a game extended because of a power outage, rallying in the second half on Monday, Jan. 19 for a 75-73 victory in Portland, Ore. The win pulled the Bearcats into a tie for second place in the NWC at 8-5 overall, 4-2 in the conference.

The ‘Cats were tied with L&C and Whitworth University in the standings. Whitworth moved one-half game in front (5-2) on Tuesday, Jan. 20 with a victory over Whitman.

Willamette returns home to host George Fox University on Friday, Jan. 23. The Bearcats will play on the road on Saturday, Jan. 24 at NWC leader University of Puget Sound.

Weekend Recap
Willamette’s victory on Saturday helped ease the sting of Friday’s difficult loss to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Corey Costantino’s 16 points paced the ‘Cats in the 70-62 defeat to the Boxers, while Cameron Mitchell added 12 points and 16 rebounds. Kyler McClary led the way against Lewis & Clark, scoring 19 points, while Costantino (12 points), Nick Babij (13 points) and Robbie Kunke (10 points, 7 assists) provided support.


Statistically Speaking

Willamette currently ranks third in the Northwest Conference in rebounding margin, outrebounding its opponents by an average of 3.5 boards per game. The Bearcats are third in the NWC in field goal percentage (45.9%) and rank second in 3-point field goal percentage (39.2%). WU leads the NWC in overall attendance and ranks second in home attendance, despite playing three of its four home games while students were on Winter Break.

Individually, Cameron Mitchell is listed first in the NWC in rebounding with 11.2 rebounds per game. He is third in scoring, averaging 18.0 points per game. Kyler McClary is 11th in the NWC in scoring (14.2 avg.) and 10th in rebounding (5.5 avg.). Robbie Kunke ranks third in the conference in assists (5.08 avg.) and Marcus Holmes is the leading 3-point shooter in the NWC, making 54.2% of his attempts (13 of 24). Josh Erickson is fourth in the NWC in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.00).

Race for the Crown

Here is a look at the standings in the NWC through Jan. 20. Remember, the top four teams at the end of the regular season will advance to the NWC Tournament, with the winner of the tourney getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament:

Puget Sound, 6-0 NWC, 13-2 Overall
Whitworth, 5-2 NWC, 13-3 Overall
Lewis & Clark, 4-2 NWC, 10-5 Overall
Willamette, 4-2 NWC, 8-5 Overall
Pacific (Ore.), 2-3 NWC, 7-6 Overall
Linfield, 2-4 NWC, 4-11 Overall
Whitman, 2-5 NWC, 6-10 Overall
Pacific Lutheran, 1-4 NWC, 7-7 Overall
George Fox, 1-5 NWC, 5-10 Overall

Power Failure
Willamette’s “extended” game with L&C was caused by a power outage across the Portland area. Surprisingly, WU’s experience on Palatine Hill was not entirely new to the program. Willamette had games extended by power failures twice before in the past 10 years.

During the 1999-00 season, WU was forced to play Pacific Lutheran in the Lutes’ old gymnasium as power to the new arena failed on both a Saturday night and the following Monday. Subsequently, during the 2005-06 season, PLU again lost power, forcing Willamette to return on a Tuesday night to play the game. WU is now 2-1 in such contests.

Sharpshooting
Sophomore guard Marcus Holmes has been a marksman off the bench for Willamette this season. The Seattle, Wash., product currently leads the NWC in 3-point shooting, with success on 54.2% of his attempts. In addition Holmes is short of the statistical minimum for free throws made per game, or he also would be leading the NWC in free throw percentage. He has converted 94.4% of his free throw attempts this season (17 of 18).

Guiding Hand
Some fans of Bearcat Hoop may have noticed the absence of senior wing Simon Currie throughout the NWC season. Currie suffered a season-ending injury to his foot in December and has been out of the lineup ever since. Despite his inability to help on the floor, Currie has been a constant presence at WU practices and games, and his leadership in the face of adversity has been a steadying influence and example to the younger players.

Catch the ‘Cats
For fans of the Bearcats who cannot get to the games in person, Mike Allegre will be announcing a live Internet Webcast of every Willamette men’s and women’s basketball game during the Northwest Conference season. Follow the link below to access Bearcat action!

/www.willamette.edu/athletics/bsn/webcast/

Projected Depth Chart for this Weekend

Point Guard
Starter - Robbie Kunke
Back-up - Josh Erickson/Grant Leslie

Shooting Guard
Starter - Corey Costantino
Back-up - Marcus Holmes/Ricky Thompson

Wing
Starter - Nick Babij
Back-up - Robert Wood/Scott Schoettgen

Post
Starter - Kyler McClary
Back-up - Scott Schoettgen/Nick Lange

Post
Starter - Cameron Mitchell
Back-up - Tain Cantrell/Taylor Mounts

Scouting the Opponents
George Fox University is a member of the Northwest Conference and competes in NCAA Division III. The Bruins and Head Coach Mark Sundquist are coming off a 71-67 victory over Linfield College on Saturday, Jan. 17 and are currently 5-10 overall, 1-5 in the NWC. George Fox is led in scoring by Alex Stockner (13.6 avg.) and Jack Martin (13.3 avg.). Evan Atwater adds 12.8 points per game.

George Fox split with Willamette a year ago, with each team winning a close game at home. WU defeated the Bruins, 73-71 in overtime on Jan. 11, 2008. GFU edged the Bearcats, 58-57, on Feb. 8, 2008.

The University of Puget Sound belongs to the NWC and NCAA Division III. Head Coach Jason Lunt brought the Loggers into the week fresh off a road sweep of Whitworth and Whitman last weekend. UPS is currently 13-2 on the season, 6-0 in the NWC.

The Loggers’ offense is guided by the senior trio of Antwan Williams, Jason Foster, and Robert Krauel, who combine to average 41.9 points per game. Williams provides 12.0 points and 5.87 assists per contest. Foster leads the team with 15.7 points per game and Krauel averages 14.2 points per night. UPS defeated the Bearcats three times last season, including an 87-82 victory in the NWC Semifinals in Tacoma, Wash.

Cameron Mitchell is Willamette's leading scorer (18.3 avg.) and rebounder (11.3 avg.). He has nine double-doubles this season.

Cameron Mitchell is Willamette's leading scorer (18.3 avg.) and rebounder (11.3 avg.). He has nine double-doubles this season.

Kyler McClary ranks 11th in the NWC in scoring and is 10th in rebounding.

Kyler McClary ranks 11th in the NWC in scoring and is 10th in rebounding.

Tain Cantrell grabbed five rebounds and played exceptional defense when the game resumed at L&C.

Tain Cantrell grabbed five rebounds and played exceptional defense when the game resumed at L&C.

Corey Costantino made two key layups in the win at L&C.

Corey Costantino made two key layups in the win at L&C.