Bearcat Hoop Game Night: WU to Battle PLU, Pacific

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's basketball team seeks its first Northwest Conference win of the season as the Bearcats battle NWC rivals Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific University this weekend. Willamette will open the weekend by hosting Pacific Lutheran at Cone Field House on Friday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will travel to Forest Grove, Ore., to take on Pacific University on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.

Willamette begins the weekend with an overall record of 3-12, including 0-6 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran will make its way to Salem with a 6-7 overall record, 4-2 in the NWC. Pacific enters the weekend at 4-11 on the season. 0-6 in the NWC. The Boxers will host the University of Puget Sound on Friday.

Previous Game

Willamette vs. George Fox

George Fox University used a 15-2 run during a 3:26 span in the second half to extend a 10-point lead, and the Bruins went on to defeat Willamette, 87-74, in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, Jan. 15. GFU upped its record to 6-8 overall, 3-2 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 3-12, 0-6 in the NWC.

Before starting the run, George Fox owned a 56-46 lead as the clock moved under the 14:00 mark. Following the run, the Bruins held a 71-48 advantage with 10:32 remaining.

GFU was led by Rich Smith, who scored 21 points on 10 of 16 shooting. Jack Martin provided 11 points and six rebounds, while Stephen Wiseley and Cole Whitehurst each scored 10 points. Wiseley also topped the Bruins with nine assists. Alex Stockner provided GFU with a team-high eight rebounds.

Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/U. of Redlands) was WU's leading scorer with 26 points. He connected on 10 of 13 field goals and 5 of 6 free throws.

Willamette received 21 points from Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS), who also earned five rebounds and two assists. During one stretch -- between the 8:30 and 2:45 marks of the second half -- he scored 12 points in a row for the Bearcats.

Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) added 13 points for WU. Mounts and Mitchell each grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bearcats. Willamette achieved a 43-31 rebounding edge.

George Fox used a 9-2 run at the end of the half to build a 42-33 halftime advantage.

Mitchell kept Willamette within striking distance by scoring eight of the Bearcats' first 13 points of the second half. Even so, WU trailed 56-46 following a rebound and layup by Mitchell with 14:13 to go.

The Bruins shot 49.2% (32 of 65) during the game, including 51.6% (16 of 31) in the second half. GFU made 9 of 30 three-pointers (30.0%). Willamette connected on 41.5% of its field goal attempts (27 of 65), including 4 of 17 three-point attempts.

Both teams excelled at the foul line. Willamette converted 16 of 19 free throws (84.2%), while George Fox made 14 of 16 charity shots (87.5%).

This Weekend's Opponents

Pacific Lutheran University
Nickname: Lutes
Location: Tacoma, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 7-15, 4-12 (7th place tie)
2009-10 Record: 6-7, 4-2 NWC
Last Meeting: WU won 67-53 on Jan. 30, 2009 in Salem

The Bearcats won both meetings with the Lutes last season. Willamette was victorious 88-70 on Jan. 1, 2009 in Tacoma. Nearly a month later, on Jan. 30, the Bearcats defeated PLU, 67-53, at Cone Field House.

Mitchell led WU in scoring in both contests. He tallied 25 points in the win at Pacific Lutheran and scored 19 points during the victory in Salem. He was Willamette's top rebounder in both games, as he earned 11 in the first meeting and 12 in the rematch.

Pacific Lutheran enters this year's first meeting with a 4-2 record in conference play. The Lutes opened NWC action with a 101-77 loss at Linfield, but responded with four wins, defeating Pacific 67-64, Puget Sound 96-81, Lewis & Clark 83-73 and Whitman 84-76. PLU lost its most recent game at Whitworth, 75-52, on Saturday, Jan. 16.

Kyle MacTaggart (Jr., Wing) leads the Lutes in scoring with 14.6 points per game. He also ranks first on the team with 15 blocked shots.

McTaggart is the only PLU player averaging in double figures, but three Lutes are averaging between 9.5 and 10.0 points per game. Victor Bull (Jr., Post) has contributed 9.8 points per game, with James Conti (So., PG) adding 9.7 and Curtis Trondsen (Jr., Post/Wing) producing 9.5. Bull is the Lute's top rebounder with 5.9 boards per game.

The Lutes are shooting 43.8% from the field, including 37.0% on 3-point attempts. PLU also has a solid 71.6% free throw percentage. Pacific Lutheran is averaging 72.5 points per game, while allowing 76.3 points per contest.

Pacific University
Nickname: Boxers
Location: Forest Grove, Ore.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 9-16, 3-13 (9th place)
2009-10 Record: 4-11, 0-6 NWC
Last Meeting: WU won 81-71 on Feb. 13, 2009 in Salem

Willamette and Pacific each enters the weekend seeking its first NWC victory of the season. Both teams are currently 0-6 in the conference, despite being competitive in nearly every game.

Last season, the Bearcats and the Boxers split two games, with each team winning on its home court. Pacific defeated Willamette, 70-62, in Forest Grove on Jan. 16, 2009. Willamette outscored the Boxers, 81-71, during the rematch in Salem on Feb. 13.

In Willamette's victory over Pacific, three Bearcats each scored 16 points. They were Mitchell, Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) and Scott Schoettgen (So., Wing, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS).

Mitchell was WU's top rebounder in both meetings a year ago. He hauled down 16 boards at Pacific and recorded 15 rebounds in the game at Willamette.

Ross Bartlett (Sr., Post) leads the Boxers with 15.1 points per game, while LeMar Anglin (Jr., F) follows with 12.7 points per game. Anglin is connecting on 54.2% of his shots from the field and Bartlett is shooting 52.3%. Jonathan Jury (So., G) ranks third on the roster with 9.3 points per game, but has played in just 10 contests.

The Boxers are outrebounding their opponents by 5.4 rebounds per game. Bartlett ranks first on the rebounding chart with 9.0 boards per game. He trails only Mitchell of Willamette (12.1 avg.) on the NWC stats. Anglin adds 5.3 rebounds per game for Pacific.

For the season, Pacific is averaging 76.3 points per game while allowing 78.1 points per night. The Boxers are shooting 43.6% on field goals, 33.5% on 3-pointers and 72.4% at the free throw line.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Cameron Mitchell needs just 23 points to reach the 1,000-point mark during his three years at Willamette. Earlier this season, he passed the 1,000-point mark for his overall career, including his freshman season at the University of Redlands. Heading into WU's home game with Pacific Lutheran on Friday, Mitchell has scored 1,119 points overall, including 977 points at Willamette.

* This year, Mitchell leads the Northwest Conference in scoring and rebounding. He is averaging 20.3 points per game and 12.1 rebounds per contest. He ranks second in the NWC in field goal shooting (57.8%) and blocked shots (20 total, 1.33 avg.).

* Mitchell also owns impressive career rebounding totals. Including his year at Redlands, he has recorded 828 rebounds. During his three years at Willamette, he has achieved 660 rebounds for the Bearcats.

* Overall, four Bearcats are averaging in double figures. In addition to Mitchell, WU's double-digit scorers are Taylor Mounts with 13.5 points per game, Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) with 11.6 points per game and Terrell Malley with 10.1 points per contest.

* Mounts is second in the NWC in free throw shooting (52 of 59, 88.1%) and is tied for fifth in rebounding with 7.1 boards per game.

* Holmes ranks sixth in the conference in 3-point shooting (40.4%). He has connected on 23 of 57 three-point shots.

* Willamette is averaging 80.0 points per game, while allowing opponents 88.7 points per game. Five of WU's losses have been by nine points or less, including four by seven points or less.

* The Bearcats hold a slim rebounding margin over their opponents. Willamette has hauled down 627 rebounds (41.8 avg.), while opponents have grabbed 625 rebounds (41.7).

LIVE WEBCAST

Men's Basketball

Willamette vs. Pacific Lutheran
Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Willamette at Pacific
Sat., Jan. 23, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Cameron Mitchell, shown against PLU last year, leads the 2009-10 Bearcats with 20.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.

Cameron Mitchell, shown against PLU last year, leads the 2009-10 Bearcats with 20.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.