Oregon Tech Improves to 8-1 with 97-71 Win over Willamette

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

ASHLAND, ORE. -- Justin Parnell scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Oregon Institute of Technology to a 97-71 victory over Willamette University in the first round of the Flagship Inn Invitational on Friday, Nov. 27 at Southern Oregon University.

Oregon Institute of Technology 97
Willamette University 71
(Flagship Inn Invitational at Southern Oregon University)

Oregon Tech, which won the NAIA Division II national title in 2003-04 and 2007-08, upped its record to 8-1 with the win. Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III, dropped to 1-2 on the season.

The Owls led 45-36 at halftime, then shot 61.3% from the field (19 of 31) in the second half to pull away. Parnell led all players in scoring and rebounding. Willamette's Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) finished second in both categories, as he produced 19 points and hauled down eight rebounds.

Willamette and Oregon Tech battled for most of the first half. WU scored the game's first three points on a layup by Ryan Meehan (So., Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) and a free throw by Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS).

The Owls put together a 10-5 run to take a two-point lead with 16:14 left in the half. Neither team led by more than two points over the next seven minutes. Oregon Tech claimed a three-point edge at the 9:12 mark, when Mike Nieraeth broke a 22-22 tie with a 3-point shot.

Oregon Tech built a 30-24 lead, but WU cut the margin to two points with a layup by Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) and another layup by Meehan with 5:53 remaining in the period.

WU trailed by five points at the 53-second mark, but the Owls tallied the final four points of the half. Parnell provided two points on a layup with 38 seconds left and Alex Zerbach added a layup as time expired.

A 13-5 run by Oregon Tech at the start of the second half increased the margin to 58-41 with 15:26 left in the game. Willamette never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

Parnell was one of four Owls in double figures. Joseph Foster supplied 15 points, Myles Daley contributed 12 points and Scotty Riddle finished with 10 points. Nieraeth led all players with six assists.

Willamette also ended the game with four double-digit scorers. Mitchell was followed by Holmes and Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) with 12 points each, and by Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) with 11 points. Mounts also grabbed nine rebounds for the Bearcats.

Oregon Tech shot 49.3% for the game (36 of 73), as the Owls' second-half success offset 40.5% shooting (17 of 42) in the first half. The Owls were 8 of 25 on 3-pointers and 17 of 24 at the line (70.8%).

The Bearcats shot 42.4% from the field (28 of 66), including 3 of 16 (18.8%) on 3-point attempts. WU earned a 45-40 advantage on the boards.

In Friday's other first round match-up, Southern Oregon defeated William Jessup University (Calif.), 85-77. On Saturday (Nov. 28), Oregon Tech will face William Jessup at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and Willamette will battle Southern Oregon at 7:30 p.m.

Cameron Mitchell earned 19 points on 8 of 13 field goals and 3-for-4 shooting at the line.

Cameron Mitchell earned 19 points on 8 of 13 field goals and 3-for-4 shooting at the line.