Bearcat Hoop Game Night: WU to Play at Puget Sound, Host Linfield

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's basketball team with play one road game and one home game in Northwest Conference action this weekend. Willamette is set to travel to the University of Puget Sound on Friday, Jan. 8, with game time slated for 8 p.m. (PST) in Tacoma, Wash. The Bearcats will return home to host Linfield College on Saturday, Jan. 9, starting at 8 p.m.

The Bearcats enter the weekend with a 3-8 overall record and a 0-2 mark in the NWC. Puget Sound is 4-8 overall, 0-3 in the NWC. Linfield holds a 4-6 record, including 2-0 in the conference.

Last Week's Games

Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III, lost a road game against NCAA Division I opponent Portland State University, 97-90, on Dec. 29. The Bearcats also dropped a pair of Northwest Conference games, falling to Whitworth University, 95-76, on Jan. 2, and losing to Whitman College, 87-60, on Jan. 3. Both conference games were played at Cone Field House.

Willamette at Portland State
The Bearcats and Portland State were delayed from playing for several hours due to road conditions. It took the Bearcats 5 hours and 45 minutes to get to the PSU campus, a trip that would normally take about 45 minutes.

Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) from Willamette scored 28 points at PSU to reach exactly 1,000 points in his college career. Mitchell, in his third season at WU since transferring from Redlands, finished the week with 1,038 points.

Willamette and the Vikings were tied twice and exchanged the lead four times during the first 6:01. Later in the first half, PSU built a 32-21 lead, but WU cut the margin to 32-26 with 8:03 left. The Vikings responded with an 8-0 run and went on to claim a 52-39 halftime advantage.

The teams continued to exchange scoring runs in the second half. PSU led by as many as 17 points at 60-43 with 17:46 remaining. Willamette eventually pulled within 80-74 with 6:30 on the clock.

Portland State extended its lead to 89-76 with 3:51 left. WU was unable to catch the Vikings, but reduced the deficit to seven points with 0:57 to go and forced PSU to make 5 of 6 free throws in the final 33 seconds.

Willamette vs. Whitworth
On Saturday, Whitworth quickly surged out to an 11-0 lead. Despite the slow start, WU cut the lead to 19-16 with 11:15 left in the first half. The Bearcats trailed by six points, 45-39, at halftime.

The Pirates used an 8-0 run early in the second half to claim a 53-41 lead with 17:43 to go. Willamette trailed by 16 points several times, before rallying to within 72-64 at the 6:28 mark after two free throws by Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS). David Riley of Whitworth scored the game's next eight points to put the Pirates in command.

Nate Montgomery, a 6'8" senior post for Whitworth, led all scorers with 25 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Riley tacked on 22 points, while Eric Beal contributed 17 points, six assists and three steals. Whitworth hit 16 of 32 three-pointers during the game.

Mitchell, Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) and Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) each contributed 16 points for Willamette. Mitchell also led the Bearcats with 11 rebounds.

Willamette vs. Whitman
On Sunday, Whitman held Willamette to 30.8% field goal shooting (20 of 65), including 23.5% in the second half (8 of 34), to defeat the Bearcats. Peter Clark led Whitman with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.

Mitchell almost posted a triple-double for the Bearcats. He finished with 22 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

Mounts added 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for WU. Scott Schoettgen (So., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) provided nine points and five rebounds, while Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) supplied eight points and five boards.

Whitman owned 42-32 at halftime lead. The Missionaries increased their advantage to 55-38 with 16:38 to go and the Bearcats were unable to recover.

This Week's Opponents

University of Puget Sound
Nickname: Loggers
Location: Tacoma, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 25-4, 16-0 NWC (Champions)
2009-10 Record: 4-8, 0-3 NWC
Last Meeting: UPS won 75-74 on Feb. 21, 2009 in Salem

The defending NWC Champions went 16-0 in the conference last season, but are 0-3 in the NWC so far this year. UPS had a great group of seniors on the 2008-09 squad and the Loggers haven't yet been able to achieve the same level of success.

Even so, Puget Sound has several quality scoring threats. Austin Boyce is averaging 16.8 points per game, while Colin Koach has added 12.0 points per contest. Following closely behind are Nadav Hayman with 11.9 points per game and Kaleb Shelton with 11.7 points per game.

Koach has connected on 83.1% of his free throw attempts (64 of 77). The Loggers are shooting 73.6% at the charity stripe, but have connected on just 38.6% of their field goals. UPS is averaging 79.1 points per game, while allowing an average of 85.5 points.

Kaleb Shelton leads the Loggers with 5.9 rebounds per game. He is followed by Boyce with 5.3 boards per contest.

Linfield College
Nickname: Wildcats
Location: McMinnville, Ore.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 12-14, 10-6 NWC (3rd place tie)
2009-10 Record: 4-6, 2-0 NWC
Last Meeting: LC won 85-78 on Jan. 27, 2009 in Salem

The Wildcats started the season 1-6, but have won three consecutive games, including NWC victories over Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. Linfield defeated the Lutes, 101-77, on Jan. 2 and downed the Loggers, 93-73, on Jan. 3. Both games were played on the Widlcats' home court in McMinnville, Ore., where Head Coach Larry Doty is in his 23rd season.

Two Linfield players are averaging in double figures. Cody Tesoro (Sr., PG) leads the way with 18.1 points per game. He trails only Cameron Mitchell of Willamette on the NWC scoring chart. K.C. Wiser (Jr., C/F) ranks second in scoring for the Wildcats with 13.8 points per game.

Kris Rainwater (Sr., F) leads Linfield and the NWC in field goal shooting at 58.2%. He is scoring 8.5 points per game, just slightly less than teammate Joel Paul, who has contributed 8.7 points per game.

Last year, Linfield and Willamette split the season series. The Bearcats won 61-58 in McMinnville on Jan. 6 and the Wilcats were victorious 84-78 in Salem on Jan. 27.

Willamette's Probable Starters

Point Guard: Marcus Holmes (Jr., 5'11"),
12.4 points per game, 39.1% three-pointers, 2.9 assists per game

Shooting Guard: Ryan Meehan (So., 6'2")
7.3 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game

Small Forward: Robbie Kunke (Jr., 6'4")
6.1 points per game, 6.2 assists per game

Power Forward: Taylor Mounts (So., 6'5")
14.6 points per game, 84.8% free throws, 7.1 rebounds per game

Center: Cameron Mitchell (Sr., 6'7")
20.4 points per game, 57.9% field goals, 12.5 rebounds per game

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* When Cameron Mitchell scored the final basket of his 28-point effort at Portland State he reached the 1,000-point mark in career scoring.

* Later in the week, Mitchell added 16 points against Whitworth and 22 points versus Whitman to increase his total to 1,038 points. He scored 142 points as a freshman at the University of Redlands. In three seasons at Willamette, he has scored an additional 896 points.

* Willamette's bus was virtually stopped for about an hour and a half on I-5 due to accidents caused by bad weather during the team's trip to Portland State on Dec. 29. The bus was stopped in traffic again near the downtown exit for PSU, so the Bearcats walked the final nine-tenths of a mile to the campus. WU lost by just seven points to the NCAA Division I Vikings.

* Mitchell leads the Northwest Conference in scoring (20.4 avg.) and rebounding (12.5 avg.). He is second in the NWC in blocked shots (1.7 avg.). His eight blocks against Whitman were the most by a Willamette player in at least 12 years.

* Taylor Mounts ranks third in the NWC in free throw shooting at 84.8% (39 of 46). He is fifth in the conference in rebounding with 7.1 boards per game and is seventh in scoring with 14.6 points per contest.

* Marcus Holmes is one of three WU players averaging in double figures. He is scoring 11.4 points per game, including 18 of 46 on three-pointers (39.1%).

* Bearcat junior Robbie Kunke is tied for the NWC lead with 6.18 assists per game. He has earned five or more assists in nine of Willamette's 11 games this season.

* Since joining the Bearcats following the Willamette football season, Scott Schoettgen has averaged 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

LIVE WEBCASTS

Willamette at Puget Sound
Friday, Jan. 8, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Willamette vs. Linfield
Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Cameron Mitchell scored his 1,000th career point at Portland State

Cameron Mitchell scored his 1,000th career point at Portland State

Scott Schoettgen has averaged 6.4 points per game for the Bearcats this season

Scott Schoettgen has averaged 6.4 points per game for the Bearcats this season