Bearcat Hoop Game Night: Willamette Set to Battle Pioneers

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Bearcats of Willamette University will host the Lewis & Clark College Pioneers in Northwest Conference action on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Game time at Cone Field House is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST), with the Willamette women's basketball game against L&C to follow at approximately 8 p.m.

Willamette enters the game with a 3-10 overall record, including 0-4 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark will arrive in Salem with a 2-10 overall record and a 1-3 NWC record.

Last Week's Games

Last week, Willamette dropped a pair of Northwest Conference games. The Bearcats rallied from 20 points down to get as close at three points against the University of Puget Sound on Friday, Jan. 8, before falling 92-85 in Tacoma, Wash. On Saturday, Jan. 9, WU lost to nearby rival Linfield College, 94-85, at Cone Field House.

Willamette at Puget Sound
The University of Puget Sound surged out to a 20-point lead early in the game, but had to hold off Willamette in the second half before the Loggers were able to defeat the Bearcats, 92-85, in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, Jan. 8. Willamette rallied within three points in the final six minutes, but couldn't catch the Loggers.

Puget Sound scored eight of the game's first 10 points and owned a 17-5 advantage with 16:05 remaining in the opening half. The Loggers continued to increase their lead and held a 33-13 margin with 11:13 left before halftime. UPS led 50-35 at the break.

The Bearcats went on a 7-2 run at the start of the second half to get within 10 points at 52-42. Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) provided the final points of the run with a 3-point shot. A bit later, Willamette cut the lead to 61-53 on a layup by Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) with 15:20 left.

Willamette eventually pulled within 76-73 with 5:53 left in the game following a 7-0 run. Scott Schoettgen (So., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) started the run with a 3-pointer from the left elbow. Meehan scored on a jumper to reduce the lead to five points, then added a steal and a layup to finish the run.

It was as close as the Bearcats would get. UPS secured the win by hitting 7 of 10 free throws in the final 51 seconds.

Kaleb Shelton led the Loggers with 21 points. He was 5 of 7 from the field and 11 of 16 at the line. Nadav Heyman and Conner Gehring each provided 16 points and five board for UPS.

Meehan paced the Bearcats with 20 point on 9 of 10 shooting. Mitchell and Holmes both scored 18 points, with Mitchell also contributing a game-high 12 rebounds. Mounts earned nine points and six rebounds.

Willamette vs. Whitworth
Linfield College connected on 34 of 45 free throws on its way to a 94-85 win over Willamette at Cone Field House on Saturday, Jan. 9. The Wildcats were led by Cody Tesoro, who scored 21 points to go with five rebounds and four steals. Linfield upped its NWC record to 4-0.

Willamette's leading scorers were Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) and Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS), each with 15 points. Mitchell played most of the second half in foul trouble, but still finished with 12 rebounds. Malley was 3 of 6 on 3-point shots.

Led by Mitchell's rebounding efforts, the Bearfats edged Linfield on the boards, 47-45. Mounts hauled down eight boards and Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) earned seven.

The score was tied at 20-20 with 11:58 left in the half, but Linfield achieved 12 consecutive points to surge into a 32-20 lead. At halftime, Tesoro had 13 of his 21 points and the Wildcats owned a 48-36 advantage.

Willamette pulled within 51-43 with 17:43 to go, but never got as close again until the final minute of play. Linfield maintained the lead throughout the second half by shooting 52.0% from the field (13 of 25) and by sinking 19 of 25 free throws.

Linfield was successful on 47.5% of its field goals for the night (28 of 59), while Willamette shot 35.9% (28 of 78) from the floor. Willamette made 6 of 18 three-pointers (33.3%). The Wildcats were 4 of 13 from behind the arc (30.8%).

Although Linfield went to the line more often, Willamette made 23 of 30 free throws (76.7%) at the other end of the court. Mounts converted 7 of 7 charity tosses and Holmes went 7 of 11 for the Bearcats.

Tonight's Opponent

Lewis & Clark College
Nickname: Pioneers
Location: Portland, Ore.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 16-10, 10-6 (3rd place tie)
2009-10 Record: 2-10, 1-3 NWC
Last Meeting: WU won 60-58 on Feb. 14, 2009 in Salem

Lewis & Clark qualified for the NWC Tournament in 2008-09, after going 10-6 in the conference during the regular season. Even so, the Pioneers lost both of their games against Willamette. The Bearcats won 75-73 in Portland and 60-58 in Salem.

This year, L&C is 2-10 on the season, including 1-3 in the NWC. The Pioneers are led by three players who are averaging in double figures.

Kelly Edwards leads the way with 17.0 points per game. James Hollins is contributing 16.8 points per game, while Josh Kollasch is scoring 11.9 points per contest. Kyle Meeuwsen tops the rebounding chart with 5.3 boards per game.

The Pioneers are shooting just 40.0% on field goals and 30.3% on 3-point attempts. L&C has connected on 67.9& of its free throws.

Lewis & Clark is averaging 68.0 points for the season, while allowing 75.1 points per night. The Pioneers opened NWC play with an 82-76 overtime win over Whitman College, but have lost to Whitworth University, 75-59, Linfield College, 72-60, and Pacific Lutheran University, 83-73, in their last three games.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Taylor Mounts and Ryan Meehan each recorded a memorable play for Willamette in the first half against Linfield. Mounts blocked a dunk by Linfield's Drew Schroeder at the 17:15 mark. Meehan scored the final basket of the half, when he beat the buzzer with a layup following an offensive rebound.

* Senior post Cameron Mitchell has now scored 1,071 points in his career. He has achieved 929 of those points in his three seasons at Willamette. He played at the University of Redlands (Calif.) as a freshman.

* Mitchell continues to lead the Northwest Conference in both scoring and rebounding. He is averaging 19.8 points per game and has grabbed 12.5 rebounds per contest. He is Willamette's top shooter and ranks fourth in the NWC with 55.7% field goal accuracy.

* Taylor Mounts ranks third in the NWC in free throw shooting at 87.3% (48 of 55). He is sixth in the conference in rebounding with 7.1 boards per game and is tied for 11th in scoring with 13.9 points per contest.

* Mitchell and Mounts are followed by Marcus Holmes, Terrell Malley and Ryan Meehan on the WU scoring chart. Holmes is averaging 12.0 points per game and leads the Bearcats with 21 three-point baskets. Malley is averaging 9.0 points per game and Meehan is providing 8.7 points per contest.

* Despite twisting his ankle in the game at Puget Sound, Willamette junior wing Robbie Kunke (Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) moved into the NWC lead with 6.25 assists per game. He has 75 assists for the season and has earned five or more assists 10 times in 12 games played.

* Willamette will play at George Fox University on Friday, Jan. 15. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

LIVE WEBCAST

Men's Basketball

Willamette vs. Lewis & Clark
Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.

Marcus Holmes is averaging 12.0 points per game this season.

Marcus Holmes is averaging 12.0 points per game this season.