Western Washington Defeats Bearcats, 115-84, in Season Opener

Mounts Scores 23 Points for Willamette

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

BELLINGHAM, WASH. -- Rory Blanche scored 23 points, went 10 for 10 from the field and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Western Washington University to a 115-84 victory over visiting Willamette University in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at Carver Gymnasium. Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) of Willamette matched Blanche for game-high scoring honors with 23 points.

Led by Blanche, the Vikings placed six players in double figures. Mounts and three other Willamette players reached double figures for the Bearcats.

Blanche was followed by Shedrick Nelson with 15 points, while Chris Mitchell tallied 14 points for WWU. John Allen and Rico Wilkins each connected for 13 points, and Michael Duty scored 12.

Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) and Marcus Holmes (Sr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) of Willamette hit the nets for 16 points apiece. Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) hit 6 of 7 field goals for the Bearcats and finished with 14 points.

Willamette's Robbie Kunke earned six points, eight assists and two steals. Allen of WWU registered eight assists, one block and two steals to go with his double-digit scoring effort.

Dart scored the game's first basket for Willamette on a layup just five seconds after the tip-off. The Vikings countered with a 10-0 run -- including six points by Duty -- and later held a 17-4 lead with 15:16 remaining in the first half.

WU earned the next seven points to cut the lead to 17-11. Holmes recorded a steal and layup during the 7-0 run, while Dart completed the offensive surge with a layup at the 13:16 mark.

The Vikings' lead was only eight points, 33-25, after Meehan put in a layup for Willamette with 8:13 left in the first half. Western Washington scored nine consecutive points to start a 29-13 run to take command of the game with a 62-38 lead at the break.

Meehan scored on a tip-in for WU to start the second half, but Western Washington answered with eight points in a row for a 70-40 advantage. The Vikings outscored Willamette by a 53-46 margin over the final 20 minutes.

Western Washington shot 57.0% for the game (45 of 79), including 13 of 32 (40.6%) on 3-point shots. Blanche's 14 boards helped the Vikings claim a 51-35 rebounding margin.

The Bearcats shot 39.5% for the game (30 of 76). WU hit 46.9% of its field goals in the first half (15 of 32), but slipped to 34.1% (15 of 44) in the second half. Willamette also converted just 6 of 29 three-point attempts (20.7%).

WU committed 16 turnovers and Western Washington lost the ball 15 times. The Vikings earned 12 steals during the game, compared to six steals for the Bearcats.

Up next on Willamette's schedule is a road game against Concordia University in Portland, Ore., on Thursday, Nov. 18. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (PST).

The Bearcats will play their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 20, when they host Northwest Christian University at Cone Field House at 7 p.m. (PST). Willamette will dedicate Gordie James Court in honor of former Head Coach Gordie James at halftime.

BOX SCORE

Western Washington 115
Willamette University 84

Taylor Mounts scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the Vikings.

Taylor Mounts scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the Vikings.