Kip's Corner 2008-09: Bearcat Hoop Internet Release #10

By Kip Ioane

Back-to-Back Losses Leave WU in Tough Spot; Bearcats Head Home Looking for Momentum Swing:
Head Coach Gordie James and the Willamette University men’s basketball team dropped a pair of road games in Eastern Washington over the weekend, leaving the ‘Cats in fifth place in the Northwest Conference. Willamette lost on Friday, Feb. 6 at Whitworth University, 77-65, and fell on Saturday, Feb. 7 at Whitman College in overtime, 88-84.

The Bearcats are 9-10 overall, 5-7 in NWC play. WU will look to right the ship this weekend in the friendly confines of Cone Field House, where the ‘Cats will welcome Pacific University on Friday, Feb. 13 and Lewis and Clark College on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Stats, Stats and More Stats
Willamette in the Northwest Conference statistics through games on Feb. 7:

Category, Statistic, Ranking
Points Per Game, 74.7, 6th
Opp. Points Per Game, 76.6, 6th
Field Goal Percentage, 44.5%, 5th
Opp. Field Goal Percentage, 45.4%, 4th
3-Point Percentage, 35.9%, 4th
Rebounds Per Game, 38.0, 3rd
Rebound Margin, +1.9, 3rd
Assists, 14.79, 5th
Turnovers, 14.5, 3rd
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio, +1.02, 4th

Individual Bearcats in the NWC statistics through games on Feb. 7:
Player, Statistic, Ranking
Cam Mitchell, Scoring (16.8), 4th
Kyler McClary, Scoring (16.5), 6th
Cam Mitchell, Rebounding (11.0), 1st
Kyler McClary, Rebounding (5.7), 10th
Robbie Kunke, Assists (4.32), 5th
Josh Erickson, Assists (3.32), 8th
Josh Erickson, Ast/TO Ratio (+2.03), 3rd
Kyler McClary, Minutes Played (32.79), 3rd

Race for the Crown
Here is a look at the standings in the NWC through Feb. 12. Remember, the top four teams at the end of the season advance to the NWC Tournament, with the winner of the tourney getting an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Puget Sound, 12-0 NWC, 19-2 Overall
Whitworth, 9-3 NWC, 17-4 Overall
Lewis & Clark, 9-3 NWC, 15-6 Overall
Linfield, 6-6 NWC, 8-13 Overall
Willamette, 5-7 NWC, 9-10 Overall
Whitman, 4-8 NWC, 8-13 Overall
Pacific Lutheran, 3-9 NWC, 9-12 Overall
Pacific (Ore.), 3-9 NWC, 8-12 Overall
George Fox, 3-9 NWC, 7-14 Overall

Heavy Lifting Continues
Post players Kyler McClary and Cameron Mitchell had a huge night Saturday in the overtime loss against Whitman, combining for 53 points and 29 rebounds. Mitchell scored 25 points and hauled down 23 boards. His rebound total was the highest by a Willamette player since 1962, when Ken Ashley set the school record with 36.

McClary led all scorers with 28 points on Saturday. It was the third-highest point total of his career. He scored 30 at Pacific last year and 30 at home versus George Fox earlier this season.

Milestone for McClary
McClary also achieved another career milestone Friday at Whitworth, when a free throw with 4:03 left in the first half put him over the 1,000-point mark for his career. McClary is just the fourth player the past 10 years to achieve the distinction, joining John Olinger (2006), Ryan Hepp (2003) and Marques Johnson (2003) in the Bearcats’ 1,000-point club. Including Saturday’s game at Whitman, he now has 1,046 career points.

Record-Setting Performance

Along with his 25 points and 23 rebounds Saturday night in Walla Walla, Wash., Cameron Mitchell also set a Willamette single game record for free throws. His 13-for-13 performance at the line set the standard for free throw percentage in a game. Eleven players previously shot 100% at the line, but Mitchell was the first to be perfect with more than 12 attempts.

No White Flag Necessary

Despite the difficult position of the Bearcats’ postseason hopes following the two losses over the weekend, no one in the Bearcat Hoop program is raising the flag of surrender just yet. Willamette (5-7) is one game behind Linfield College (6-6) in the NWC standings with each team having four regular season games left to play. Linfield begins its quest to clinch the fourth and final spot with a Friday, Feb. 13 date at the second place team, Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Ore.

Catch the ‘Cats
For all the fans of the Bearcats who cannot get to the games in person, Full Access Sports provides a live internet webcast of all the Willamette men’s and women’s basketball games during the conference season. Mike Allegre supplies the play-by-play. Follow the link below to access Bearcat action!


Projected Depth Chart for this Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

Scouting the Opponents
Pacific University is a Northwest Conference rival for the Bearcats. The Boxers also compete in NCAA Division III. Led by Head Coach Jason Lowery, Pacific is 8-12 overall, and 3-9 in the NWC for seventh place in the standings. The Boxers, who defeated Willamette earlier this season in Forest Grove, Ore. are led by post Garold Howe, who is currently second in scoring in the NWC with 18.0 points per game.

Lewis and Clark College is also a member of the NWC and NCAA Division III. The Pioneers are guided by Head Coach Bob Gaillard. L&C is is 15-6 on the season, 9-3 in the NWC (2nd place). Willamette defeated the Pioneers, 75-73 earlier this year. Two of Lewis & Clark’s top players are guards Josh Kollasch, with 13.9 points per game, and James Hollins, with a team-high 37 three-pointers.

Kyler McClary has scored 1,046 points during his Willamette career.

Kyler McClary has scored 1,046 points during his Willamette career.

Cameron Mitchell scored 25 points and grabbed 23 rebounds at Whitman on Saturday, Feb. 7.

Cameron Mitchell scored 25 points and grabbed 23 rebounds at Whitman on Saturday, Feb. 7.

Corey Costantino is averaging 9.5 points per game this season.

Corey Costantino is averaging 9.5 points per game this season.

Corey Costantino is averaging 9.5 points per game this season.

Corey Costantino is averaging 9.5 points per game this season.