Bearcat Hoop Game Night: Willamette Concludes Season against Lutes and Boxers

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's basketball team will conclude the 2009-10 season with a pair of Northwest Conference games this weekend, as the Bearcats take on Pacific Lutheran University on the road and Pacific University at home. WU will begin the weekend by battling PLU in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will close out the season on Saturday, Feb. 20 by hosting Pacific at 8 p.m. at Cone Field House.

Prior to tip-off on Saturday, the Bearcats will honor their three seniors. The seniors are Cameron Mitchell (Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands), Joe Penkala (Post, Niles, Ill./Loyola Academy) and Robert Wood (Wing, Keizer, OR/McNary HS/Chemeketa CC).

Willamette is 7-16 on the season, 4-10 in the NWC. The Bearcats are 3-3 in the second round robin portion of the NWC schedule.

Pacific Lutheran is 8-13 overall and 6-8 in the NWC. Pacific enters the weekend at 8-15 overall, 4-10 in the NWC.

Previous Game

Willamette vs. George Fox

George Fox rallied from a 40-31 halftime deficit to defeat Willamette, 89-81, at Cone Field House on Friday, Feb. 12. GFU moved to 11-11, 8-5 in the Northwest Conference. The start of the game was delayed by a little more than an hour due to the officials arriving late. The loss ended WU's three-game winning streak.

Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands) led Willamette with 20 points and a game-high 25 rebounds. The 25 boards tied for second on Willamette's all-time single game list.

Stephen Wiseley topped George Fox with 22 points and four 3-pointers. Alex Stockner added 19 points, while Rich Smith achieved 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Bruins shot 63.3% in the second half (19 of 30), including 8 of 10 on three-pointers. GFU was 11 of 20 from 3-point range (55.0%) overall.

WU led for most of the first half. The Bearcats were up 22-12 following a layup by Mitchell with 11:35 remaining in the period.

GFU cut the lead to six points twice, but Willamette used a 5-0 run to claim a 31-20 edge at the 8:14 mark. The Bruins pull within six two more times during the half, but WU owned nine-point margin at the break.

The Bruins gradually rallied during the second half. GFU cut the deficit to four points, 56-52, on a 3-pointer by Jack Martin at the 11:46 mark.

After George Fox started to rally, Willamette extend the lead to eight or nine points several times, but couldn't offset the Bruins' success from 3-point range. GFU finally tied the score, 65-65, with 7:03 left.

The Bruins moved in front for good at 72-69 on a 3-pointer by Martin with 4:53 to go. George Fox led by four points, 79-75, with 2:26 remaining, then went on a 7-2 run to extend the lead to 86-77 with 31 seconds left.

All five starters for WU finished in double figures. Mitchell was followed by Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) and Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) with 14 points each. Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) provided 13 points, four assists and four steals. Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) achieved 12 points and five boards.

This Week'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: 8-13, 6-8 NWC (5th place)
Last Meeting: Pacific Lutheran won 96-90 on Jan. 22, 2010 in Salem

Pacific Lutheran is in fifth place in the NWC standings at 6-8, and the Lutes trail George Fox (8-6) and Lewis & Clark College (8-6) for the final two NWC Tournament berths with two games remaining. In order to have a shot at postseason play, the Lutes must with both of their remaining games and hope that GFU or L&C drops both of its games.

The top four teams in the final regular season standings will advance to the NWC Tournament. Whitworth University (15-0) and Linfield College (9-5) have already clinched NWC Tournament berths.

Kyle MacTaggart (Jr., Wing) is Pacific Lutheran's leading scorer with 14.9 points per game. He is shooting 47.3% from the field and 73.3% at the free throw line. In the first meeting between Willamette and PLU, MacTaggart scored a game-high 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds, leading the Lutes to a 96-90 win.

Curtis Trondsen (Jr., Wing) has contributed 10.4 points per game for the PLU. James Conti (So., PG) has supplied 9.7 points per contest.

The top rebounder for the Lutes is Victor Bull (Jr., Post) with 5.1 rebounds per game. He is the only Pacific Lutheran player averaging more than five rebounds per night. The Lutes have been outrebounded by an average of 4.2 boards per game.

Pacific Lutheran is averaging 70.8 points per game, which ranks last in the NWC. The Lutes have allowed opponents 77.9 points per game, good for fifth place in the conference in scoring defense.

In the first meeting with Willamette, the Lutes used MacTaggart's high-scoring efforts and strong 3-point shooting to down the Bearcats. PLU was 12 of 26 (46.2%) from 3-point range. MacTaggart, Tony Polis (Jr., PG) and Andrew Earnest (Fr., G) each made three baskets from 3-point range.

PLU has lost five consecutive games and is 1-6 in its last seven contests. Five of the six losses have been by 12 or more points, including three by at least 25 points.

Pacific University
Nickname: Boxers
Location: Forest Grove, Ore.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 9-16, 3-13 NWC (9th place)
2009-10 Record: 8-15, 4-10 NWC (7th place tie)
Last Meeting: Willamette won 80-72 on Jan. 23, 2010 in Forest Grove

Pacific is tied with Willamette and the University of Puget Sound for seventh place in the NWC standings with a 4-10 record. The Boxers will play at Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday, Feb. 19, before heading back to Oregon to take on Willamette on Saturday in Salem, Ore.

When Pacific lost to Willamette, 80-72, in Forest Grove, Ore., on Jan. 23, it was the Boxers' ninth consecutive loss. Since then, the Boxers have gone 4-2.

Pacific is just 1-5 in NWC road games heading into this weekend. The Boxers are 2-6 on the road overall.

The key player for Pacific is Ross Bartlett (Grad., Post), who is averaging 16.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He ranks fifth in the NWC in scoring and is second in rebounding behind Mitchell from Willamette. He has connected on 52.6% of his field goals (144 of 274) and 81.1% of his free throws (86 of 106).

LeMar Anglin (Jr., F) has produced 12.8 points per game and is shooting 51.5% (104 of 202) from the field. He has averaged 6.0 rebounds per game. Jonathan Jury (So., G) has scored 8.1 points per game.

Pacific has achieved 73.3 points per game, while allowing 76.2 points per contest. Led by Bartlett's exceptional rebounding, the Boxers have averaged 6.4 rebounds per game more than their opponents.

In WU's win at Pacific earlier this season, the Bearcats outscored the Boxers 17-7 in the final 3:43 to secure the win. Willamette went 8 for 8 at the free throw line in the last 1:04 on the clock.

Mitchell scored 13 points and had 16 rebounds for Willamette. Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) tallied 17 points to lead six Bearcats in double figures. Bartlett registered 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Pacific. Adam McElwee (Fr., G) topped the Boxers with 20 points.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Cameron Mitchell enters the final weekend of his collegiate career with 1,163 points and grabbed 770 rebounds in his three seasons with the Bearcats. Including his freshman year at the University of Redlands, Mitchell has scored 1,305 points and hauled down 938 rebounds. He has recorded 18 double-doubles this season and has scored 10 or more points in all 23 games.

* Mitchell leads the Northwest Conference with 21.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. He ranks second in the NWC in field goal percentage at 57.7% (192 of 333) and is second in blocked shots with 1.30 per game (23 in 30 games).

* When Mitchell achieved 25 rebounds against George Fox on Feb. 12 he tied Larry Lynn for second on Willamette's all-time single game list. Lynn registered 25 rebounds against Pacific University on Feb. 28, 1958. The WU record is 36 rebounds by Ken Ashley in 1962 (date and opponent not available).

* Willamette placed six players in double figures during the Bearcats' 80-72 win at Pacific on Jan. 23. Terrell Malley led the team with 17 points, while Mitchell, Marcus Holmes, Robbie Kunke and Ryan Meehan each tallied 13 points. Taylor Mounts scored 11 points on the night.

* The Bearcats have five players averaging double-figure scoring this season. Mitchell tops the scoring chart with 21.3 points per game. He is followed by Mounts (14.0 avg.), Meehan (11.7 avg.), Holmes (10.4 avg.) and Malley (10.3).

* Kunke leads the NWC with 6.0 assists per game (120 in 20 games). He earned a season-high 10 assists at Portland State University on Dec. 28. Kunke is third in the NWC in assist-to-turnover ratio with 1.69 assists per turnover.

* Mounts ranks second in the Northwest Conference in free throw percentage (86.0%, 80 of 93). Mounts is fifth in the NWC in blocked shots (0.83 avg., 19 in 23 games) and is sixth in rebounding (6.8 avg.).

* Willamette has averaged 82.2 points per game and allowed 88.3 points per contest. WU has achieved 80 or more points in six of its seven wins.

* On Feb. 6, 2010, the Bearcats broke the 100-point mark in a 105-93 win over Linfield. It was WU's first 100-point game since a 127-121 double-overtime loss at the University of Puget Sound on Feb. 23, 2008. It was the Bearcats' first win with 100 or more points since a 119-108 triumph over Puget Sound at Cone Field House on Jan. 26, 2007.

* Since the start of Northwest Conference play, Meehan has connected on 58.4% of his field goal attempts (73 of 125). In NWC action, he has scored in double figures in 11 of WU's 14 games. He currently has a string of eight consecutive games with double-digit scoring.

LIVE WEBCAST
Women's Basketball

Willamette at Pacific Lutheran
Friday., Feb. 19, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Willamette vs. Pacific
Friday., Feb. 20, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.
Ryan Meehan is shooting 58.4% and averaging 14.0 points per game against NWC opponents.

Ryan Meehan is shooting 58.4% and averaging 14.0 points per game against NWC opponents.

Cameron Mitchell grabbed 25 rebounds against George Fox on Feb. 12 to tie for second on WU's all-time single game list.

Cameron Mitchell grabbed 25 rebounds against George Fox on Feb. 12 to tie for second on WU's all-time single game list.

Robbie Kunke has earned 120 assists this season. He leads the NWC with 6.0 assists per game.

Robbie Kunke has earned 120 assists this season. He leads the NWC with 6.0 assists per game.