Tesoro Scores 24 Points, as Linfield Downs Bearcats, 84-78

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Cody Tesoro scored 24 points, including 8 for 8 in the final 2:33, as Linfield College defeated Willamette University, 84-78, on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Cone Field House. Linfield improved to 7-11 overall, while moving into sole possession of fourth place in the Northwest Conference at 5-4. Willamette dropped to 8-8 on the season, 4-5 in the NWC.

Linfield opened the game with a 7-0 run and built a 19-5 lead with 14:02 remaining in the first half. Willamette spent much of the night battling from behind, but cut the margin to 40-33 at halftime and tied the Wildcats, 48-48, on a layup by Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) with 12:41 left in the game.

WU took its first lead at 50-48 with 12:09 to go, when McClary hit a jump shot assisted by Corey Costantino (Sr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS). The Bearcats were unable to increase the lead and the teams exchanged scores for several minutes.

The Wildcats surged in front for the final time with 7:22 on the clock, as Jon Weber put in a layup to break a 58-58 deadlock. Weber's basket was followed by a 3-pointer from Tesoro, as LC increased the lead to 63-58.

McClary cut the deficit to two points with 5:24 remaining. He converted three consecutive free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot.

Linfield scored eight of the next 10 points. Willamette trailed 71-63 after Erik Olson connected on a 3-pointer for the Wildcats to complete the 8-2 run at the 4:06 mark.

WU pulled within five points several times the rest of the way, but Linfield hit 13 of 14 free throws to close out the game. Even so, Willamette cut the lead to four points, 82-78, on a 3-pointer by Josh Erickson (Sr., G, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) with 13 seconds left. Kris Rainwater secured the win by sinking the game's final two free throws with 11 seconds on the clock.

Linfield avenged a 61-58 victory by Willamette on Jan. 6 in McMinnville, Ore. In that game, WU made 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute to clinch the win.

Tesoro was the game's top scorer in the rematch, but McClary finished just one point off the pace with 23 points for Willamette. McClary also grabbed seven rebounds.

In addition to Tesoro, other double-digit scorers for Linfield were K.C. Wiser with 16 points, Olson with 15 points, Weber with 11 and Rainwater with 10. The Wildcats shot 46.6% for the game (27 of 58) and used their strong finish at the line to go 24 of 31 (77.4%) at the charity stripe overall.

Joining McClary in double figures for the Bearcats were Costantino and Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands), each with 13 points. Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) tacked on eight points. Willamette was 25 of 60 from the field (41.7%) and made 23 of 28 free throws (82.1%).

The Bearcats outebounded the Wildcats, 38-34. Mitchell and Nick Babij (Sr., G, Ontario, OR/Ontario HS) tied for the team lead with eight rebounds apiece. Wiser topped Linfield with nine boards on the night.

Weber earned eight assists, helping the Wildcats amass 17 overall. WU totaled 14 assists, including five by Costantino.

Willamette will remain at home to take on Pacific Lutheran University in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, Jan. 30. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Linfield College 84
Willamette University 78
Kyler McClary was 7 of 11 from the field, including a pair of 3-point baskets, against the Wildcats.

Kyler McClary was 7 of 11 from the field, including a pair of 3-point baskets, against the Wildcats.