Bearcats Break Century Mark, Defeat Linfield, 105-93

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University had an offensive explosion in the second half for the second night in a row, as the Bearcats moved past rival Linfield College, 105-93, in a Northwest Conference game on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Willamette, which shot 64.0% from the field during the second half in a 90-75 win over the University of Puget Sound on Friday, connected on 74.1% of its shots (20 of 27) in the second half against Linfield.

It was Willamette's first 100-point game since a 127-121 double-overtime loss at the University of Puget Sound on Feb. 23, 2008. It was WU's first win with 100 or more points since a 119-108 triumph over Puget Sound at Cone Field House on Jan. 26, 2007.

The Bearcats improved to 6-15 overall and to 3-9 in the NWC. Willamette is 3-2 in its last five games. Linfield fell to the .500 mark for the season at 10-10, including 8-4 in the NWC.

Senior post Cameron Mitchell (Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands) scored 27 points and hauled down 12 rebounds for Willamette. He was 12 of 17 from the field. Mitchell also recorded three steals.

Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) of WU contributed a season-high 25 points, as he went 9 of 12 on field goals, 3 for 3 on 3-point shots and 4 for 4 at the free throw line.

Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) chipped in 18 points and earned seven boards. Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) scored 15 points, had four assists and achieved two steals.

Linfield senior point guard Cody Tesoro registered a game-high 36 points. He hit 12 of 24 field goals, including 8 of 12 on 3-point attempts. Kris Rainwater added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Drew Schroeder scored 10 points and hauled down eight rebounds.

Willamette was in front for most of the game. The Bearcats led 5-0 and 8-5 in the first four minutes, but trailed 17-14 at the 13:24 mark in the opening half. WU tallied the next six points and held a 20-17 advantage with 11:05 on the clock.

The Bearcats owned a six-point lead at 26-20 after a basket and foul shot by Bubba Lemon (Jr., Wing, McMinnville, OR/Tualatin HS/Linfield College) with 9:13 to go. The Wildcats cut the margin to a single point, 30-29, on a layup by Joel Paul with 6:11 left before halftime.

Willamette ended the half with an 18-5 run that extended the lead to 48-34. WU's run featured eight points by Meehan, including a 3-pointer from the left corner with just two seconds remaining. Meehan tallied 13 points in the first half, including all three of his 3-point baskets.

Rainwater of Linfield had 10 points and seven rebounds at the break. He also had three fouls, but added just one foul during the second half and finished with 34 minutes played.

WU built its lead up to 19 points on three occasions in the first seven minutes of the second period. The Bearcats held a 65-46 advantage with 13:14 left.

Linfield went on a 14-3 run that featured two 3-pointers and a jump shot by Tesoro. After he completed the run with a 3-pointer at the 10:08 mark, the Wildcats trailed by a 68-60 margin.

Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) countered with a trifecta 23 seconds later for Willamette, moving the lead to 11 points. Tesoro nailed two more 3-pointers, sandwiched around a jumper by Mounts, to pull Linfield within 73-66.

It was as close as the Wildcats would get. Willamette increased its margin to 92-76 with 3:59 to go, following a three-point play by Meehan, who was fouled while putting in a layup. WU's largest lead was 103-82 with 1:54 left.

Tesoro of Linfield and Mitchell of Willamette each had an exceptional second half. Tesoro produced 27 of his points over the final 20 minutes, while Mitchell recorded 21 points after the intermission.

Willamette connected on 11 of 16 three-pointers (68.8%) during the game, including 7 of 11 in the first half. The Bearcats went 20 of 24 at the free throw line (83.3%), with a perfect 13 for 13 in the second half.

Linfield shot 45.1% from the field (32 of 71) and made 10 of 25 three-pointers. The Wildcats converted 19 of 27 free throws.

The Bearcats will play again on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST). The women's basketball game between Willamette and L&C will follow at approximately 8 p.m.

For More Information:
Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 105
Linfield College 93
Cameron Mitchell scored 27 points against Linfield, including 21 in the second half.

Cameron Mitchell scored 27 points against Linfield, including 21 in the second half.

Ryan Meehan finished the game with a season-high 25 points.

Ryan Meehan finished the game with a season-high 25 points.