Bearcats Shoot 64% in Second Half to Down Loggers, 90-75

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University shot 64% in the second half (16 of 25) to defeat the University of Puget Sound in a Northwest Conference game, 90-75, at Cone Field House on Friday, Feb. 5. The Bearcats were led by Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands), who tallied 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Willamette improved to 5-15 on the season, 2-9 in the Northwest Conference. Puget Sound fell to 8-13 overall, 4-8 in the NWC.

Mitchell was one of four Bearcats in double figures. Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings scored 17 points, Robbie Kunke (Jr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) contributed 16 points and Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) added 11 points.

Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) almost had a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, despite taking only one shot from the field. He was 7 for 8 at the free throw line.

Kaleb Shelton of Puget Sound scored 20 points to go with 10 rebounds. He also recorded a game-high five steals. Colin Koach and Bryce Levin achieved 10 points each for the Loggers. Conner Gehring tallied nine points and grabbed five rebounds.

Neither team shot well in the first half -- Willamette hit 34.4% of its shots (11 of 32) and UPS sank 39.3% of its attempts (11 of 28) -- so the score stayed close. Willamette led by as many as four points, while the Loggers held a two-point lead and several one-point leads. There were 10 ties and 16 lead changes during the half.

Willamette got its offense going in the second half. Meehan produced 13 points during the final 20 minutes, while Kunke supplied 12 and Mitchell tacked on 11. The Bearcats also converted 23 of 29 free throws in the second half to finish the game 34 of 45 (75.6%).

Meanwhile, the Loggers connected on just 14 of 34 shots in the second half (41.2%), including 3 of 11 on three-pointers (27.3%). UPS finished the night at 40.3% from the field (25 of 62).

Puget Sound hit 10 of 13 free throws (76.9%) in the final period after going 8 for 17 (47.1%) at the line in the first half. Shelton was 7 of 10 on free throws for the Loggers.

Willamette never trailed after the intermission, but held just a 51-48 lead after Edric Egberuare of UPS sank two free throws with 14:36 left. The Bearcats scored the next six points on layups by Kunke and Mitchell, plus a pair of free throws by Mounts, to extend the margin to nine points at 57-48.

The advantage for the Bearcats reached 69-58 after Mounts put in two more charity shots with 8:32 to go. The Loggers countered with an 8-2 run that cut the deficit to 71-67 on two free throws by Shelton with 5:24 on the clock.

Puget Sound trailed by just five points entering the final four minutes, but Meehan connected on a 3-pointer for Willamette at the 3:44 mark to give the Bearcats a 77-69 lead. WU outscored the Loggers 13-6 the rest of the game.

Willamette plays again on Saturday, Feb. 6, when the Bearcats will travel to McMinnville, Ore., to take on Linfield College in Northwest Conference action. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST). Linfield defeated the Bearcats, 94-85, at Willamette on Jan. 9.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 90
University of Puget Sound 75
Ryan Meehan scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half. WU outscored UPS 57-41 over the final 20 minutes.

Ryan Meehan scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half. WU outscored UPS 57-41 over the final 20 minutes.

Cameron Mitchell scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards for his 16th double-double of the season.

Cameron Mitchell scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards for his 16th double-double of the season.