Willamette Finishes Strong to Pull Away from PLU, 80-58

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University built a big first-half lead, but saw the lead reduced to three points with 8:43 left, before the Bearcats closed the game with a 28-9 run to rout Pacific Lutheran University, 80-58, on Friday, Feb. 19 at Olson Auditorium. WU upped its record to 8-16 overall, 5-10 in the NWC, while PLU fell to 8-14 overall, including 6-9 in the NWC. The Lutes have lost six consecutive games.

The Bearcats owned a 20-15 lead with 8:58 remaining in the first half, but outscored the Lutes 18-7 over the rest of the period to take a commanding 38-22 lead at the break. WU still led by 16 points, 48-32, following a 3-pointer by Marcus Holmes (Jr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) with 16:18 to go.

Pacific Lutheran answered with a 17-4 run to trim the deficit to 52-49 with 9:03 left. The teams exchanged the next two baskets, then Willamette reclaimed control of the game by scoring 10 consecutive points for a 64-51 advantage at the 5:47 mark. Six points during Willamette's decisive run were scored by Taylor Mounts (So., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School).

Willamette placed five players in double figures, led by Holmes with 19 points. Mounts and Terrell Malley (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) added 15 points apiece.

Cameron Mitchell (Sr., Post, Portland, OR/Grant HS/Univ. of Redlands) provided 14 points and led all players with 10 rebounds. Ryan Meehan (So., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) chipped in 10 points for the Bearcats. Robbie Kunke (Jr., Wing, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) didn't score and took just three shots, but tied his season high with 10 assists.

Holmes scored 12 of his points in the first half and finished the game 7 of 12 on field goals. He was 4 for 6 on 3-point shots, helping WU finish the game 10 for 23 (43.5%) from 3-point range as a team. Overall, the Bearcats were 34 of 74 from the field (45.9%).

Gabe Smith and Victor Bull each tallied 10 points for PLU. Bull also grabbed seven rebounds, while Smith achieved six boards. Tony Polis earned six assists.

The Lutes shot 40.6% for the game (26 of 64) and made only 3 of 20 three-pointers (15.0%). PLU was 2 for 12 from 3-point range in the second half.

Willamette attained a 44-36 rebounding edge. In addition to 10 boards from Mitchell, the Bearcats also received seven rebounds from Mounts.

Neither team went to the free throw line very often. Willamette was 2 for 2 at the line, as Holmes and Malley each went 1 for 1. Pacific Lutheran was 3 for 6 at the charity stripe. Each team was called for just nine fouls.

Willamette will conclude the season by hosting Pacific University at Cone Field House on Saturday, Feb. 20. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST). WU defeated the Boxers, 80-72, in Forest Grove, Ore., on Jan. 23.

Willamette University 80
Pacific Lutheran University 58
Marcus Holmes led WU with 19 points. He was 7 of 12 on field goals, hit four 3-point shots and achieved three assists.

Marcus Holmes led WU with 19 points. He was 7 of 12 on field goals, hit four 3-point shots and achieved three assists.