Bearcat Hoop Game Night: Willamette to Play at Whitworth and Whitman

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The men's basketball team from Willamette University will battle Northwest Conference rivals Whitworth University and Whitman College in road games this weekend. Willamette will play at Whitworth on Friday, Jan. 29 in Spokane, Wash., at 8 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will take on Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., on Saturday, Jan. 30, also at 8 p. m.

The men's game at Whitworth will be broadcast on local television in Spokane. It will only be available on television if you are in the Spokane area. However, Whitworth's Live Video will be showing the same images as the television broadcast.

Willamette enters the road trip with a 4-13 overall record and a 1-7 mark in the NWC. The Bearcats achieved their first NWC win of the season last Saturday (Jan. 23) with an 80-72 road victory at Pacific University. Prior to the win, Willamette had lost four NWC games by nine points or less, including three by seven points or less.

Previous Games

Willamette vs. Pacific Lutheran

Pacific Lutheran University held an 11-point lead with 7:48 left, but had to hold off a rally by Willamette before defeating the Bearcats, 96-90, in a Northwest Conference game at Cone Field House on Friday, Jan. 22. The Lutes improved to 7-7 overall, 5-2 in the NWC.

Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands) went over the 1,000-point mark in his three seasons at Willamette when he scored WU's final basket with five seconds left. He earned 24 points on the night and led the Bearcats with 16 rebounds.

Kyle MacTaggart of Pacific Lutheran led all scorers with 31 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds.

PLU held a 77-66 advantage before WU went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to three points. Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) completed the offensive surge on a layup with 4:12 remaining.

James Conti of PLU hit a pair of free throws with 3:55 left to increase the Lutes' lead to 79-74. Willamette pulled within three points three more times, but was unable to complete the rally.

The Lutes were in front, 48-44, at halftime. MacTaggart scored 16 of PLU's first 18 points in the second half, including two 3-pointers. Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) put in eight of the Bearcats' 14 points over the same time span. The Lutes led 66-58 with 13:40 remaining.

For the game, Willamette shot 55.6% (35 of 63) from the field and held PLU to 47.9% shooting (35 of 73). Pacific Lutheran gained an advantage on 3-pointers, going 12 of 26 (46.2%), while WU finished 8 of 24 (33.3%).

Meehan finished with 22 points for the Bearcats, while sinking 8 of 9 field goals. Mounts added 17 points and Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) supplied 15 points.

MacTaggart's led four Lutes with double-digit points. Other top scorers for PLU were Conti with 16, Trondsen with 13 and Polis with 11.

Willamette at Pacific

Willamette went on a 17-7 run at the end of the game and the Bearcats defeated Pacific University, 80-72, on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Forest Grove, Ore. The victory was Willamette's first win in Northwest Conference action this year. Pacific fell to 4-13 overall and remained winless in the NWC at 0-8 (but defeated George Fox three days later).

The Bearcats placed six players in double figures. Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) led the way with 17 points.

Four Bearcats registered 13 points apiece: Mitchell, Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS), Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) and Meehan. Mounts tacked on 11 points.

Pacific finished the game with three players in double digits. Adam McElwee tallied 20 points, Ross Bartlett contributed 17 points and LeMar Anglin scored 14 points.

The Bearcats trailed 65-63 with 3:59 remaining. WU took the lead on a 3-point basket by Kunke at the 3:43 mark and never trailed again. Kunke's trifecta started a 9-0 run that gave the 'Cats a 72-65 advantage with 2:22 left in the game.

WU secured the win by hitting eight of eight free throws in the final 1:04. The Bearcats were 22 of 26 overall (84.6%) at the line.

Pacific was held to just 32.3% field goal shooting (21 of 65) and 6 of 20 three-pointers (30.0%). Willamette connected on 40.0% of its shots from the field (24 of 60) and made an impressive 10 of 18 three-pointers (55.6%).

The Boxers kept pace with Willamette's free throw success, as Pacific converted 24 of 29 charity shots (82.8%). Pacific also achieved a 47-37 rebounding margin, led by 13 boards from Ross Bartlett. Mitchell led Willamette with 16 boards.

This Weekend's Opponents

Whitworth University
Nickname: Pirates
Location: Spokane, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 23-6, 12-4 (2nd place)
2009-10 Record: 15-2, 8-0 NWC
Last Meeting: Whitworth won 95-76 on Jan. 2, 2010 in Salem

Whitworth defeated Willamette at Cone Field House to open Northwest Conference play for both teams and the Pirates haven't lost since. At 8-0, Whitworth leads the NWC by one game over Linfield College in second place.

The Pirates are averaging 83.0 points per game, which ranks second in the NWC behind Whitman (85.8 avg.). Willamette ranks third in the conference with 80.6 points per game.

Nate Montgomery (Sr., Post) tops the Pirates with 15.6 points per game and leads the NWC in field goal shooting at 58.7%. David Riley (Jr., F) has contributed 14.5 points per game, while Eric Beal (Sr., G) has provided 13.6 points per contest. Montgomery is Whitworth's leading rebounder with 7.4 boards per night.

Whitworth is more than willing to put up 3-point shots. The Pirates are 142 of 381 (37.3%) from 3-point range this season and are third in the NWC with 8.35 successful 3-pointers per game. Riley has the most 3-pointers on the team (42) and also leads the Pirates with 42.0% accuracy behind the arc.

On defense, Whitworth is allowing just 68.9 points per game to rank first in the NWC. No other conference team has allowed fewer than 75.5 points per game. The Pirates are holding opponents to 40.3% on field goals and have outrebounded their foes by 4.1 rebounds per game.

Last year, the Pirates downed the Bearcats, 77-65, in Spokane on Feb. 6, 2009. The Pirates edged out Willamette, 69-68, in Salem, on Jan. 9, 2009.

Whitman College
Nickname: Missionaries
Location: Walla Walla, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 9-16, 5-11 (6th place)
2009-10 Record: 9-8, 3-5 NWC
Last Meeting: Whitman won 87-60 on Jan. 3, 2010 in Salem

Whitman hosts Lewis & Clark College on Friday before facing the Bearcats on Saturday. The Missionaries enter the L&C game with a four-game losing streak in NWC action. Three of the losses were on the road, although the fourth loss, an 85-81 defeat to Linfield College, was in Walla Walla last Saturday.

The Missionaries, who started NWC play with a 3-1 record after four games, are now 3-5 in the conference and tied for sixth place. Whitman is the NWC's highest scoring team with 85.8 points per game, but the Missionaries rank eighth in scoring defense at 83.3 points allowed per contest.

Leading Whitman in scoring is Brandon Shaw (So., G) with 15.7 points per game. Two other players are averaging in double figures. They are Justin Artis (Jr., G) with 11.5 points per game and LuQuam Thompson (Fr., G) with 10.4 points per game.

Two other Missionaries have scoring averages near the double-digit mark. Peter Clark (Fr., Wing) and Daniel Davidson (Jr., F) are both averaging 9.9 points per game.

Whitman has additional depth provided by David Michaels (So., F), who is averaging 8.4 points per game and leads the Missionaries in field goal shooting at 57.0%. Shaw ranks second on the team in shooting with 50.6% accuracy.

The Missionaries lead the NWC with 149 three-point baskets and rank second in 3-pointers made per game (8.76). Whitman has converted 34.3% of its 3-pointers and is shooting 69.0% at the free throw line.

In last year's meetings, Willamette and Whitman split two games, with the home team winning each contest. The Bearcats were victorious 84-70 at Cone Field House on Jan. 10, 2009, as Mitchell scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. During the rematch played in Walla Wall, the Missionaries defeated the Bearcats, 88-84 in overtime, on Feb. 7, 2009.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Cameron Mitchell, with 24 points against Pacific Lutheran on Jan. 22, reached the 1,000-point mark during his three years at Willamette. He concluded the game with 1,001 points career points for the Bearcats. Mitchell added 13 more points at Pacific and now has contributed 1,014 points over the past three seasons. His overall career total, which includes his freshman year at the University of Redlands, is 1,156 points.

* This year, Mitchell leads the Northwest Conference in scoring and rebounding. He is averaging 20.1 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per night. He ranks second in the NWC in field goal shooting (57.9%) and blocked shots (23 total, 1.35 avg.).

* Joining Mitchell in double figures for the Beacats are Taylor Mounts (13.6 avg.), Marcus Holmes (11.2 avg.) and Terrell Malley (10.8 avg.). Ryan Meehan follows closely with 9.8 points per game.

* Willamette is averaging 80.6 points per game and allowing 88.1 points per contest. Six of WU's losses have been by nine points or less, including five by seven points or less.

* Meehan has been hot from the field in Northwest Conference play. In WU's eight conference games, the sophomore wing has connected on 58.3% of his field goal attempts (35 of 60), including 40.0% from 3-point range (10 of 25).


Men's Basketball

Willamette at Whitworth
Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Willamette at Whitman
Sat., Jan. 30, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Ryan Meehan is shooting 58.3% on field goals in Northwest Conference play.

Ryan Meehan is shooting 58.3% on field goals in Northwest Conference play.