Whitworth Extends Lead in Final Minutes, Downs Bearcats, 101-83

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Led by Nate Montgomery's 29 points and 10 rebounds, Whitworth University rallied past Willamette University and pulled away in the closing minutes for a 101-83 victory on Friday, Jan. 29. The Pirates, ranked #15 in NCAA Division III by D3Hoops.com, upped their record to 16-2 overall and 9-0 in the NWC. The Bearcats fell to 4-14 overall, 1-8 in the NWC.

Whitworth extended its current winning streak to 15 games. Nine of those wins have been at the Whitworth Field House. The Pirates are 47-3 at home in games played since the 2005-06 season.

The first half of play was a back-and-forth battle. There were 11 ties and 16 lead changes during the 20-minute stanza. The final tie of the half was at 40-40 after Montgomery sank two free throws at the 3:11 mark. Montgomery gave Whitworth the lead on a 3-pointer with 2:18 left before the intermission.

Willamette trailed 45-42 at the break. The Bearcats gave up the first six points of the second half, before putting together an 11-1 run to take the lead. Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) contributed five points during the run, while Mitchell finished the surge by scoring on a layup with 16:39 left.

The Bearcats held a slim 60-59 edge with 14:35 on the clock, but scored 10 of the next 13 points.

Meehan and Robert Wood (Sr., Wing, Keizer, OR/McNary HS/Chemeketa CC) each put in a 3-pointer during the run. A layup by Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) gave the Bearcats a 70-62 advantage with 12:47 remaining.

Whitworth went on a 24-7 run to achieve an 86-77 lead following a 3-pointer by Wade Gebbers at the 4:25 mark. The Pirates' run included four 3-pointers, with two by Gebbers and on apiece from Eric Beal and David Riley.

After, Bo Gregg scored on a layup with 2:37 left, the Pirates were in front 89-79. Willamette tallied the next four points, cutting the lead to 89-83 on a pair of free throws by Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands) with 1:37 to go.

The Pirates secured the win by ending the game with a 12-0 run. Whitworth connected on 10 of 10 free throws and closed the game with a jump shot by Riley with 15 seconds on the clock. Riley scored 18 points for the Pirates and hit 5 of 11 three-pointers.

Whitworth shot 43.1% (25 of 58) for the game, while hitting 13 of 32 three-point attempts (40.6%). The Pirates also made 38 of 47 free throws (80.9%).

Joining Montgomery and Riley in double figures for Whitworth were Gebbers, Beal and Gregg. Gebbers matched Riley with 18 points, while Beal scored 12 and Gregg finished with 11.

Mitchell topped Willamette's scoring chart with 26 points. He also hauled down a game-high 11 rebounds, before fouling out with 1:12 left. It was Mitchell's 14th double-double of the season. He has scored in double figures in all 18 games.

Mounts followed with 19 points for the Bearcats, while Meehan provided 18 points. Freshman guard Terrell Malley (Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) contributed 11 points.

The Bearcats shot 47.5% from the field (28 of 59). Mounts put in 7 of 8 attempts, while Mitchell and Meehan each went 7 for 12.

Willamette made 8 of 21 three-pointers (38.1%). The 'Cats hit 19 of 25 free throws (76.0%).

Up next for the Bearcats is a Northwest Conference game at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., on Saturday (Jan. 30). The match-up between the Bearcats and the Missionaries will complete Willamette's two-game weekend trip. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Whitworth University 101
Willamette University 83
Cameron Mitchell scored 26 points on 7 of 12 field goals and 12 of 14 free throws against the 15th-ranked Pirates.

Cameron Mitchell scored 26 points on 7 of 12 field goals and 12 of 14 free throws against the 15th-ranked Pirates.