Bearcat Hoop Game Night: Willamette to Host UPS, Travel to Linfield

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Head Coach Kip Ioane and the Willamette University men's basketball team are set for a pair of Northwest Conference games this weekend. The Bearcats will play at home on Friday, Feb. 5 against the University of Puget Sound, before traveling to Linfield College on Saturday, Feb. 6. Both games are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. (PST).

Willamette starts the weekend with a 4-15 overall record, including 1-9 in the NWC. The Bearcats have lost six games by nine points or less, including four games in the NWC. Five of WU's losses on the season have been by seven points or less.

Puget Sound has a record of 8-12 this season. The Loggers are 4-7 in the NWC. Linfield is 10-8 overall, 8-2 in the NWC.

Previous Games

Willamette at Whitworth

Whitworth University rallied past Willamette and pulled away in the closing minutes for a 101-83 victory on Friday, Jan. 29 in Spokane, Wash. The Pirates improved to 16-2 overall and 9-0 in the NWC. Whitworth also defeated Lewis & Clark over the weekend and moved up to #10 in this week’s D3Hoops.com Poll.

The Pirates extended their current winning streak to 16 games with their wins over the weekend. Ten of the wins have been at the Whitworth Field House. The Pirates are 48-3 at home since the 2005-06 season.

Against Willamette, the Pirates were led by Nate Montgomery with 29 points and 10 rebounds. David Riley added 18 points and hit 5 of 11 three-pointers. Whitworth shot 43.1% (25 of 58) for the game and made 13 of 32 three-point attempts (40.6%). The Pirates also connected on 38 of 47 free throws (80.9%).

Joining Montgomery and Riley in double figures for Whitworth were Wade Gebbers with 18 points, Eric Beal with 12 points and Bo Gregg with 11 points.

Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands) topped Willamette's scoring chart with 26 points. He also hauled down a game-high 11 rebounds, before fouling out late in the game.

Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) followed with 19 points for the Bearcats, while Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) provided 18 points. Freshman guard Terrell Malley (Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) earned 11 points.

The first half was a back-and-forth battle. There were 11 ties and 16 lead changes during the 20-minute stanza.

Willamette trailed 45-42 at the break and gave up the first six points of the second half, before putting together an 11-1 run to take the lead. Meehan contributed five points during the run, while Mitchell finished the surge by scoring on a layup for a 53-52 edge with 16:39 left.

Later, a 10-3 run gave the Bearcats a 70-62 advantage. Whitworth responded with a 24-7 run to take an 86-77 lead following a 3-pointer by Gebbers at the 4:25 mark. Willamette trailed 89-83 with 1:37 left, before the Pirates secured the win by ending the game with a 12-0 run, including 10 for 10 on free throws.

Willamette at Whitman

Brandon Shaw scored 25 points for Whitman College on Saturday, Jan. 30 in Walla Wall, Wash., leading the Missionaries to a 103-82 victory over Willamette in Northwest Conference action. Justin Artis added 24 points for the Missionaries.

For Willamette, Mitchell equaled his season high in scoring by topping Willamette with 28 points. He also led all players with 11 rebounds. It was Mitchell's 15th double-double this season. Mounts added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Meehan achieved 13 points for the Bearcats, while Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) finished with five points, six assists and four steals.

Whitman (31 of 67, 46.3%) made just two more field goals than Willamette (29 of 57, 50.9%), but the Missionaries hit 13 of 33 three-point shots (39.4%), while the Bearcats went 4 of 16 (25.0%) from 3-point range.

Both teams shot well at the free throw line, as Whitman sank 28 of 36 attempts (77.8%) and Willamette made 20 of 25 charity shots (80.0%). Each team grabbed 37 rebounds.

Whitman closed the first half with a 9-2 run to take a 49-42 lead. The half featured a total of five ties and seven lead changes.

Willamette pulled within three points twice in the early going of the second half, including 55-52 with 15:59 remaining on two free throws by Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS). The Missionaries answered with a 13-4 run and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the night.

This Weekend's Opponents

University of Puget Sound
Nickname: Loggers
Location: Tacoma, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 25-4, 16-0 (1st place)
2009-10 Record: 8-12, 4-7 NWC
Last Meeting: Puget Sound won 92-85 on Jan. 8, 2010 in Tacoma

Puget Sound defeated Willamette in the first meeting this season, 92-85, as the Loggers held off a rally by the Bearcats. UPS surged out to a 33-13 lead in the game's first nine minutes. Willamette pulled within 39-27, but trailed 50-35 at halftime. The Bearcats continued to rally in the second half and got as close as 76-73 with 5:53 left, before Puget Sound held on for the win.

Willamette engineered much of its comeback without junior wing Robbie Kunke (Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS), who twisted his ankle while driving to the basket early in the second half. Kunke had seven assists despite playing just 16 minutes during the game. Meehan led Willamette with 20 points, while Kaleb Shelton topped UPS with 21 points.

For the season, Puget Sound is scoring 79.5 points per game. The Loggers are giving up 82.3 points per contest.
UPS has allowed opponents to shoot 50.0% from the field, including 37.7% from 3-point range.

The leading scorer for the Loggers is Austin Boyce (Sr., F) with 16.1 points per game. Keleb Shelton (So., F) has added 12.4 points per night, while Nadav Heyman (So., G) has averaged 11.6 points per game. Puget Sound is shooting 41.3% on field goals and just 27.5% on 3-point attempts.

Where the Loggers have excelled is in creating turnovers. UPS has forced its opponents into 402 turnovers (20.1 avg.), while Puget Sound has lost the ball just 284 times (14.2 avg.).

Shelton tops the UPS rebounding chart with 5.7 boards per game and Boyce has grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game. The Loggers are averaging 34.7 boards per contest. Puget Sound's pponents have averaged 39.7 rebounds.

Linfield College
Nickname: Wildcats
Location: McMinnville, Ore.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 12-14, 10-6 (3rd place tie)
2009-10 Record: 10-8, 8-2 NWC
Last Meeting: Linfield won 94-85 on Jan. 9, 2010 in Salem

Linfield College is off to a 10-8 start and the Wildcats are in second place in the NWC with an 8-2 record. Linfield is two games behind Whitworth (10-0) and two games in front of George Fox University (6-4).

The Wildcats have limited opponents to 43.3% field goal accuracy, including just 31.6% from 3-point range. Linfield ranks second in the NWC in both categories.

K.C. Wiser (Jr., C/F) leads Linfield with 19.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He has converted 57.9% of his field goals, including 14 of 26 three-point shots (53.8%). He has been successful on 85.2% of his free throws (46 of 54).

Cody Tesoro (Sr., PG) adds 17.1 points per contest. He ranks first on the team in free throws made (102) and attempted (128) for 79.7%. He also leads the Wildcats with 43 assists (2.4 avg.) and 24 steals (1.3 avg.). Kris Rainwater (Sr., F) provides 8.8 points per game and is shooting 56.4% from the field.

Linfield is averaging 75.7 points per game and has connected on 47.2% of its field goal attempts. The Wildcats are allowing 76.7 points per contest.

In the meeting earlier this season between the Bearcats and the Wildcats, Linfield made 34 of 45 free throws on its way to a 94-85 win over Willamette at Cone Field House on Saturday, Jan. 9. Tesoro paced Linfield with 21 points, five rebounds and four steals. Willamette was led by Mitchell and Malley with 15 points apiece.

At halftime, Linfield 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.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Cameron Mitchell enters the weekend with 1,068 points and 714 rebounds during his three seasons at Willamette. Including his freshman year at the University of Redlands, Mitchell has achieved 1,210 points and 882 rebounds during his career.

* Mitchell leads the Bearcats with 20.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per game this season. He also leads the Northwest Conference in scoring and rebounding.

* Other Willamette players averaging in double figures are Taylor Mounts, Marcus Holmes, Terrell Malley and Ryan Meehan. Mounts is averaging 14.0 points per game, while Holmes is contributing 10.6 points per contest. Malley has provided 10.5 points per game and Meehan has added 10.4 points per night.

* Willamette is averaging 80.8 points per game and allowing 89.6 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 Willamette's 10 NWC games, he has converted 57.3% of his field goal attempts (47 of 82), including 42.4% from 3-point range (14 of 33).

* Four Bearcats have made 20 or more 3-pointers this season. They are Holmes (26), Meehan (26), Mounts (23) and Malley (20).

* Robbie Kunke leads the Northwest Conference with 6.38 assists per game (102 in 16 games). He earned a season-high 10 assists at Portland State University on Dec. 28.

* Mitchell ranks second in the NWC in field goal accuracy at 58.8% (153 of 260). He also is second in the conference in blocked shots at 1.32 blocks per game (25 in 19 games).

* Mounts is second in the conference in free throw percentage (87.0%, 67 of 77). Mounts is sixth in the NWC in rebounding (6.8 avg.).

LIVE WEBCAST
Men's Basketball

Willamette vs. Puget Sound
Friday, Feb. 5, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Willamette at Linfield
Sat., Feb. 6, 2010 at 7:45 p.m.

Taylor Mounts ranks second in the NWC in free throw shooting at 87.0%. He has made 67 of 77 charity shots.

Taylor Mounts ranks second in the NWC in free throw shooting at 87.0%. He has made 67 of 77 charity shots.