Mitchell Scores 24, Grabs 21 Boards, as WU Defeats GFU, 87-82

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS) scored 24 points and hauled down 21 rebounds, leading Willamette University to an 87-82 Northwest Conference victory over George Fox University at the Wheeler Sports Center on Friday, Feb. 20. Willamette kept its NWC Tournament hopes alive at 12-10 overall, 8-7 in the NWC.

The Bearcats also clinched a winning record for the season. WU will close out its NWC slate on Saturday, Feb. 21 against the University of Puget Sound. Game time at Cone Field House is set for 8 p.m. (PST). UPS, which defeated Pacific University, 76-64, on Friday, is 22-2 overall, 15-0 in the NWC.

In order to reach the four-team NWC Tournament, WU will have to defeat Puget Sound and Linfield College will have to lose to Pacific on Saturday. Linfield defeated Pacific Lutheran University, 96-67, Friday night. Linfield is currently 9-6 in the NWC, one game in front of the Bearcats.

Mitchell was joined in double figures by Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS), who scored 23 points, and by Robbie Kunke (So., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS), with 10 points and six assists. McClary was 10 for 15 from the field.

Jack Martin led four players in double figures for George Fox with 18 points. He was 7 of 13 from the field and 4 for 8 on 3-point shots.

Brady Strutz put in 14 points for the Bruins. Alex Stockner and Evan Atwater registered 13 points apiece. Five GFU players earned at least four rebounds, but Willamette -- led by Mitchell's 21 boards -- achieved a 40-29 rebounding edge.

Willamette held a slim 85-82 lead with 44 seconds remaining, after Atwater made two free-throws. The Bearcats called timeout with 22 seconds left. Mitchell was open under the basket several as the clock reached 10 seconds and scored on a layup with just under eight seconds left.

Dan Ligenfelder missed a 3-pointer for GFU at with three seconds to go. It was the final shot of the game.

WU connected on 53.1% of its shots (34 of 64) and made 16 of 22 free throws. George Fox was limited to 47.0% from the field (31 of 66). The Bruins hit six 3-pointers (on 21 attempts, 28.6%) and held Willamette to 3 of 9 from long range. GFU also sank 14 of 17 free throws.

The Bearcats trailed 13-9 with 13:58 remaining in the first half, but took an 18-17 lead on a jumper by Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) at the 10:21 mark and never trailed again.

Willamette held a 27-22 advantage with 7:51 left in the period, then surged out to a 40-28 margin with 3:14 on the clock. McClary scored nine points during the 13-6 run. George Fox countered with an 11-1 run to end the half, cutting WU's lead to 41-39 at the break.

WU registered the first eight points of the second half, including four by Mitchell, as the difference reached 10 points at 49-39. A 3-pointer by Strutz pulled GFU within 54-50 with 14:01 to play. The margin stayed between five and eight points until Kunke sank two free throws at the 7:02 mark to give the Bearcats a 72-62 lead.

The Bruins trailed by seven points, 78-71, after Mitchell made one of two free throws with 2:57 left. A pair of free throws by Joe Ahn, plus a 3-pointer by Atwater at the 2:38 mark, reduced the lead to 78-76.

Mitchell scored on a layup with 2:05 remaining for an 80-76 advantage. Following a turnover, Mitchell added another inside basket with 1:44 to go. Josh Erickson (Sr., PG, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) tacked on a free throw 16 seconds later.

George Fox went on a 6-2 run, capped by Atwater's two charity shots in the final minute, but Mitchell's clinching layup ended the threat. Willamette avenged a 75-70 loss at Cone Field House to the Bruins on Jan. 23.

Willamette University 87
George Fox University 82
Cameron Mitchell achieved his second 20-20 double-double of the season.

Cameron Mitchell achieved his second 20-20 double-double of the season.

Kyler McClary scored 23 points and now has 1,085 points in his career.

Kyler McClary scored 23 points and now has 1,085 points in his career.