Bearcats Fall to California Lutheran in Tournament Opener

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

REDLANDS, CALIF. -- California Lutheran University pulled away in the second half to defeat Willamette University, 83-69, in the first game of the Lee Fulmer Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 3 at the University of Redlands. CLU improved to 1-1 on the season. Willamette fell to 1-4.

California Lutheran held a slim 38-36 lead at halftime. The Kingsmen outscored Willamette 45-33 in the second half, while connecting on 57.7% (15 of 26) of their field goals over the final 20 minutes.

The Bearcats will play their second game in the three-day, eight-team tournament on Friday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. (PST) against the University of California-Santa Cruz. UCSC lost to Chapman University, 74-44, in Thursday's second game.

Three Kingsmen scored more than 20 points each for California Lutheran. Aaron Fisher topped all scorers with 26 points on 11 of 15 shooting. Kyle Knudsen added 22 points, while Greg Grimm provided 21 points.

Willamette was led by Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School), who scored 17 points and hit 7 of 13 field goals. Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) registered 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) also scored 14 points for the Bearcats, while connecting on 6 of 13 shots.

The Bearcats trailed 8-2 just 2:25 into the game, but put together a 13-4 run over the next four minutes to move into a 15-12 lead over the Kingsmen. Willamette held it's largest lead at 29-25 following a jumper by Scott Schoettgen (So., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) with 6:10 left in the first half.

California Lutheran scored the next seven points, all by Fisher, as he hit a layup, added a 3-pointer and recorded another layup. The Kingsmen led 32-29 with 3:42 on the clock.

Holmes cut the deficit to a single point when he scored the next basket on a layup. He also tied the score at 34-34 with a 3-pointer at the 2:16 mark and at 36-36 on a layup with 1:39 to go. Neither team scored again until Grimm sank a jumper with 39 seconds remaining to give CLU its two-point halftime lead.

The first half featured nine lead changes and seven ties. The Kingsmen held a 20-16 edge in the paint, but WU owned a 9-6 lead in points off turnovers.

Willamette took a 41-40 lead with 18:33 left in the game on a layup by Mounts. California Lutheran moved back into the lead on a dunk by Aaron Van Klaveren and remained in front the rest of the game.

Even so, the Kingsmen held just a three-point advantage, 50-47, after Mitchell sank two free throws for Willamette with 13:41 remaining. CLU led 57-53 at the 10:20 mark.

The Kingsmen scored the next seven points to increase the margin to 64-53 with 8:30 left. The Bearcats were unable to get closer than nine points the rest of the way.

California Lutheran achieved a 37-27 rebounding edge, as Fisher hauled down 12 rebounds and Grimm earned 10 boards. The Kingsmen shot 51.7% for the game (31 of 60) and held WU to 43.3% (26 of 60). Willamette shot just 34.4% from the field (11 of 32) in the second half.

Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) of Willamette topped all players with seven assists. Holmes added three assists for the Bearcats. Andy Meier led the Kingsmen with four assists.

Mitchell was held scoreless in the first half by CLU after picking up his second foul 6:11 into the game. He played just seven minutes in the opening period, but scored all 14 of his points and grabbed seven of his nine rebounds during 16 minutes of playing time in the second half. He was 6 of 6 on field goals and went 2 for 3 at the line.

California Lutheran University 83
Willamette University 69
(Lee Fulmer Tournament at University of Redlands)
Taylor Mounts scored 17 points and hit 7 of 13 field goals.

Taylor Mounts scored 17 points and hit 7 of 13 field goals.