Pacific Shoots 61.9% in Second Half to Defeat Willamette, 70-62

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

FOREST GROVE, ORE. -- Pacific University shot 61.9% from the field in the second half (13 of 21), as the Boxers defeated Willamette University, 70-62, on Friday, Jan. 16 at the Pacific Athletic Center. Pacific upped its record to 7-6 overall, 2-3 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette went to 7-5 on the season, 3-2 in the NWC.

A.J. Gaulton paced the Boxers with 22 points. Garold Howe tacked on 19 points, five rebounds and three steals for Pacific. The Boxers shot just 34.2% in the first half (13 of 38), but recorded six offensive boards and forced Willamette into 11 turnovers during the first 20 minutes.

Corey Costantino (Sr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) led the Bearcats with 16 points and five rebounds. He was 6 of 8 shooting from the field. Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) provided the Bearcats with 12 points and 16 rebounds. The Bearcats attained a 38-35 rebounding edge.

Both teams held leads during the opening stanza, which featured two ties and six lead changes. Willamette took a 26-21 advantage on a 3-pointer by Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) with 7:10 left in the period. The Boxers scored the next eight points and held a 33-30 margin at the break.

WU shot 50.0% in the first half (11 of 22), but the 'Cats fell off to 31.3% shooting (10 of 32) in the second period. Willamette made 8 of 19 three-pointers during the game. Pacific was 9 of 21 on 3-pointers.

The Bearcats committed three turnovers and missed two shots in the first three minutes of the second half. Pacific recorded 3-pointers following one of the turnovers and after both missed shots, as the Boxers surged out to a 42-30 lead. The 'Cats had to battle from behind the rest of the night.

Willamette trailed 63-49 with 5:26 remaining in the game, following two free throws by Howe. The 'Cats cut three points off the lead on a trifecta by Nick Babij (Sr., Wing, Ontario, OR/Ontario HS) with 5:17 left. Willamette eventually cut the lead to 65-60, as Josh Erickson (Sr., G, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) nailed a 3-pointer with 2:24 to go.

The 'Cats also trailed by five points, 67-62, following two free throws by Mitchell with 1:09 remaining. Pacific scored the final three points of the game at the free throw line.

WU finished with 17 turnovers, while Pacific committed 11. The Boxers had just three turnovers in the first half.

Willamette will play on the road again on Saturday, Jan. 17, when they take on Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

Pacific University 70
Willamette University 62
Corey Costantino provided WU with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals against Pacific.

Corey Costantino provided WU with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals against Pacific.