Bearcats Rally in Regulation, but Whitman Wins in Overtime, 88-84

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

WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- Willamette University rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final eight minutes to force overtime, but Whitman College battled back in the extra session to defeat the Bearcats, 88-84, at the Sherwood Center on Saturday, Feb. 7. The Missionaries improved to 8-13 overall, 4-8 in the Northwest Conference, while Willamette fell to 9-10 overall, 5-7 in the NWC.

Cameron Mitchell (Jr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) provided the Bearcats with a double-double. He scored 25 points, hauled down a career-high 23 rebounds and sank 13 of 13 free throws.

Mitchell became the first player in WU men's basketball history to finish a game after making 13 or more free throws without a miss (two others have gone 12 for 12, with two going 11 for 11). He also earned the third highest single-game rebounding total in Bearcat history.

The 23 rebounds also were the most by a Willamette player since the school record of 36 was set by Ken Ashley in 1962. Second place on the WU rebounding list is Larry Lynn with 25 boards during a game in 1958.

Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) achieved 28 points to lead Willamette in scoring. He increased his career scoring total to 1,046. Scott Schoettgen (Fr., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) finished the game with 11 points.

Chris Faidley scored 25 points for Whitman. He was 7 of 16 from the field, including 6 of 14 on 3-point shots. Jordan Wheeler contributed 19 points for the Missionaries, while Brandon Shaw registered 13 points, three assists and two steals.

Wheeler produced six of Whitman's eight points in overtime. He began by sinking a free throw with 4:06 remaining. Willamette answered with a 4-0 run on a dunk by Mitchell and a jumper by McClary. WU led 84-81 at the 2:19 mark.

The Missionaries scored the final seven points of the game. Wheeler earned a layup with 2:03 to go, then gave the Missionaries an 86-84 lead by nailing a 3-pointer with 1:27 left. Faidley made one of two free throws with 21 seconds on the clock, extending Whitman's lead to 87-84.

WU tried to force a second overtime, as Schoettgen launched a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining, but the ball went off the rim and didn't go through. Shaw grabbed the rebound and made the second of two free throws to secure the win.

Willamette held a 41-36 lead at halftime, but Whitman went on a 10-2 run to start the second half. The Bearcats tallied the next five points on a 3-pointer by Josh Erickson (Sr., PG, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) and a jumper by Mitchell, as WU took a 48-46 lead at the 16:18 mark.

Whitman scored the next basket to tie the score. The game was tied four more times through 58-58 with 11:27 remaining. The Missionaries received a jumper from Shaw to create the 58-58 tie, then added nine more unanswered points to complete an 11-0 run. Faidley hit a 3-pointer and two free throws during the offensive surge.

The Bearcats gradually reduced the lead and pulled within 75-73 on a free throw by McClary with 2:41 left. Whitman scored on a jumper by Wheeler for a 77-73 edge, and also owned a four-point margin, 79-75, after Wheeler hit the net with 1:10 to go.

McClary cut the lead to a single point when he put through a 3-pointer with about a minute remaining. Shaw gave Whitman an 80-78 advantage by converting the first of two free throws with 47 seconds left. Schoettgen tied the game on a jumper with 33 seconds on the clock. Neither team scored during the rest of regulation.

Both teams shot 44.8% for the night (30 for 67). Willamette was 8 of 23 (34.8%) on 3-pointers and 16 of 22 free throws (72.7%). Whitman connected on 12 of 28 three-pointers (42.9%) and went 16 for 26 (61.5%) at the line. The Bearcats recorded a 47-38 rebounding edge.

WU was called for 27 fouls during the game. Four 'Cats received four fouls apiece, but no one fouled out. Whitman was charged with 16 fouls.

Willamette will play three of its last four regular season games at Cone Field House. The Bearcats will start the four-game stretch by hosting Pacific University in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. (PST).

Whitman College 88
Willamette University 84
Cameron Mitchell grabbed 23 rebounds for the third highest single-game total in WU history and the most since 1962.

Cameron Mitchell grabbed 23 rebounds for the third highest single-game total in WU history and the most since 1962.

Kyler McClary was Willamette's top scorer with 28 points against the Missionaries.

Kyler McClary was Willamette's top scorer with 28 points against the Missionaries.