Willamette Shoots 53.6% in 88-70 Victory over Pacific Lutheran

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University shot 53.6% from the floor, including 7 of 14 three-pointers, as the Bearcats opened Northwest Conference play with an 88-70 road victory over Pacific Lutheran University on Friday, Nov. 2. The Bearcats connected on 30 of 56 field goals and made 21 of 31 free throws.

Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS) led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) tallied 15 points and hauled down seven boards. Corey Costantino (Sr., Wing, Ashland, OR/Ashland HS) contributed 13 points and five assists.

Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) added 12 points for the Bearcats and sank 4 of 6 field goals. Schoettgen, who recently completed an outstanding season with the WU football team, was playing in just his second basketball game for the 'Cats. Josh Erickson (Sr., PG, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) provided Willamette with 10 assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

The Bearcats won their fifth consecutive game and improved to 5-3 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran dropped to 6-4 overall, including 0-1 in the NWC.

PLU received a game-high 26 points from Josh Dressler, who sank 10 of 20 field goals. Dressler also led the Lutes with nine rebounds. Kyle MacTaggart scored 13 points for PLU, while Victor Bull hit the nets for 10 points.

Willamette surged out to a 21-9 lead, as six Bearcats scored in the first 9:04, including seven points from Costantino and five by Mitchell. Meanwhile, Dressler scored five of PLU's first nine points.

The Lutes cut the advantage to three points at 25-22, and trailed by just four points, 29-25, after MacTaggart scored on a layup with 5:50 to go in the half. The Bearcats pulled away with a 13-1 run to close out the period. WU owned a 42-26 advantage at the break.

Dressler led all scorers at halftime with 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Mitchell paced WU at the intermission with 13 points, after hitting 5 of 9 field goals.

PLU opened the second half with a 13-5 run to cut Willamette's lead to 47-39. The 'Cats responded by scoring the next five points to start a 12-3 run of their own. Schoettgen completed the outburst with a 3-pointer at the 11:32 mark for a 59-42 lead.

The Lutes rallied one more time, eventually cutting the margin to seven points at 63-56 on a jumper by Chris Trondsen with 8:00 remaining. Mitchell scored on a layup 12 seconds later, but Bull registered a layup for Pacific Lutheran with 7:10 left, to reduce the lead to seven points once again.

Mitchell earned another layup and was fouled with 6:52 remaining. He converted the foul shot, then added two more free throws with 6:21 to go, as he scored all of WU's points in a 7-2 run.

Erickson assisted on both of Mitchell's layups during the quick offensive surge, helping the 'Cats built a 70-58 advantage. Willamette remained in front by double digits the rest of the way.

WU's strong night from the field included 55.2% shooting (16 of 29) in the first half, followed by 51.9% accuracy (14 of 27) in the second half. The Bearcats finished the game with a 43-32 rebounding edge, to go with solid defensive play, as WU limited the Lutes to 39.7% field goal shooting (25 of 63).

Mitchell was 9 of 17 from the field. McClary hit 5 of 10 field goals, including 2 of 4 on 3-point attempts. Costantino was 4 of 6 from the field and went 4 for 4 at the line.

The Bearcats will play again on Tuesday, Jan. 6, when they travel to McMinnville, Ore., to take on NWC rival Linfield College. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. (PST). Willamette will play its NWC home opener on Friday, Jan. 9, also at 8 p.m., against defending champion Whitworth University.

Willamette University 88
Pacific Lutheran University 70
Josh Erickson recorded 10 assists in Willamette's win at Pacific Lutheran.

Josh Erickson recorded 10 assists in Willamette's win at Pacific Lutheran.

Cameron Mitchell scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Lutes.

Cameron Mitchell scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Lutes.