George Fox Rallies Past Bearcats, 89-81

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

SALEM, ORE. -- George Fox University rallied from a 40-31 halftime deficit to defeat Willamette University, 89-81, in a Northwest Conference game at Cone Field House on Friday, Feb. 12. George Fox moved to 11-11 overall, 8-5 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 7-16 overall, 4-10 in the NWC. The loss ended Willamette's three-game winning streak.

The start of the game was delayed by a little more than an hour due to the officials arriving late. Tip-off took place at about 7:05 p.m. (PST).

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. Mitchell tied Larry Lynn, who earned 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).

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. Overall, GFU was 11 of 20 from 3-point range (55.0%).

WU trailed 7-5, but otherwise led throughout 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. All five points were scored by Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) on a 3-pointer and a layup. The Bruins pull back 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. A 3-pointer by Evan Atwater with 14:55 remaining cut WU's lead to 49-44. 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 managed to extend its lead to eight or nine points, but couldn't offset the Bruins' success from 3-point range. GFU finally tied the score, 65-65, with a 10-2 run that included a 3-pointer by Travis Toedtemeier and ended with a layup by Cole Whitehurst with 7:03 left.

Willamette and GFU exchanged the next four baskets. 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 Willamette finished the game in double figures. Mitchell's 20 points led the way. Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) and Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) each contributed 14 points. Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) provided 13 points, four assists and four steals. Mounts achieved 12 points and five boards.

The Bearcats shot 40.0% for the game (28 of 70) and downed 6 of 17 three-point attempts (35.3%). GFU's strong shooting in the second half offset 36.6% shooting (11 of 30) by the Bruins in the first half. George Fox made 30 of 60 field goals overall (50.0%).

Both teams had sub-par nights at the free throw line. Willamette made 19 of 31 free throws (61.3%), while the Bruins hit 18 of 28 charity shots (64.3%). The Bearcats earned a 43-41 rebounding advantage.

After playing four games in eight days, Willamette has a week to prepare for its next game. The Bearcats will play at Pacific Lutheran University on Friday, Feb. 19. WU will close out the season at Cone Field House against Pacific University on Saturday, Feb. 20. Both games are slated to begin at 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
George Fox University 89
Willamette University 81
Cameron Mitchell earned his 18th double-double of the season with 20 points and 25 rebounds.

Cameron Mitchell earned his 18th double-double of the season with 20 points and 25 rebounds.