Northwest Christian Builds Big Lead, Holds Off Bearcats, 102-90

Dart Earns a Double-Double for WU with 31 Points, 12 Rebounds

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Northwest Christian University built a 21-point halftime lead, then held off Willamette University's rally in the second half, as the Beacons outscored the Bearcats, 102-90, in a non-conference men's basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 20. NCU improved to 3-2 on the season, while Willamette dropped to 1-2.

At halftime, Willamette held a dedication ceremony naming the game floor at Cone Field House after former men's basketball Head Coach Gordie James. In 22 seasons as Willamette's head coach from 1987-88 through 2008-09, James achieved a 357-210 (.608) record. He also earned a record of 340-129 (.725) during 22 years at the high school level, giving him a combined record of 697-359 (.660).

In Saturday's game, the Beacons were led by Kellen Spicer with 23 points and nine rebounds. Overall, six Northwest Christian players reached double digits in scoring.

Sean Dart (Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) was Willamette's top player, as he tallied 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) added 22 points and seven rebounds despite missing most of the first half with foul trouble.

Willamette was in front 6-5 just over two minutes into the game following a 3-pointer by Mounts. Northwest Christian tallied the next 11 points, including seven by Brian Hampton, to take a 16-6 lead.

WU got as close as five points two times later in the half, including 28-23 at the 8:14 mark on a layup by Dart. The Beacons held a seven-point lead, 33-26, with 6:23 left in the half, but closed the period with a 26-12 run. NCU led 59-38 at the break.

The Bearcats shot just 29.4% in the first half (10 of 34), but improved to 54.5% (18 of 33) over the final 20 minutes to eventually pull within single digits. Northwest Christian, which was hot from the field in the first half with 63.9% shooting (23 of 36), dropped off to 48.3% (14 of 29) in the second half.

At the start of the second half, Willamette went on a 12-2 run to reduce NCU's lead to 11 points, 61-50, at the 17:48 mark. The Beacons surged back out to a 70-53 lead in just over two minutes.

Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) of Willamette sank two free throws with 10:22 remaining to slice the lead to 79-69. Just over a minute later, Mounts sank a 3-pointer to get WU within nine points at 81-72. Northwest Christian scored the next three points to regain a double-digit margin.

Even so, Willamette cut the deficit to eight points with 4:15 to play, as Dart scored on a layup assisted by Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS). Dart's basket made the scored 87-79.

Quentin Guidry of NCU hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left on the next shot clock to give the Beacons a 90-79 advantage. WU was unable to get closer than nine points the rest of the way.

For the game, Northwest Christian shot 56.9% from the field and 50.0% on 3-point shots (9 of 18). The beacons converted 19 of 29 free throws (65.5%). Willamette was 28 of 67 on field goals (41.8%) and made just 4 of 21 three-point attempts (19.0%).

The game featured 53 fouls, including 28 on NCU. Willamette went to the line 44 times and sank 30 charity shots (68.2%).

Spicer's 23 points were followed on the Beacons' scoring chart by Guidry with 17 points. Hampton chipped in 16 points and a team-high six assists. Brent McKee recorded 14 points, while Cameron Marshall achieved 13 points and a team-high 13 boards. Jordan Buhler scored 11 points for the Beacons.

Willamette placed a total of four players in double figures. In addition to Dart with 31 points and Mounts with 22, the Bearcats also received double-figure scoring from Meehan and Marcus Holmes (Sr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS). Meehan registered 18 points and hit 9 of 10 free throws. Holmes finished with 15 points.

Kunke led all players with 10 assists for the Bearcats. He also scored four points, grabbed three rebounds and earned three steals.

Willamette's next game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 26 against Corban College at the Capital City Classic, hosted by Western Oregon University. Tipoff against the Warriors is set for 5 p.m. (PST) in Monmouth, Ore.

BOX SCORE
Northwest Christian Univ. 102
Willamette University 90
Sean Dart scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bearcats.

Sean Dart scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bearcats.

Taylor Mounts contributed 22 points and seven rebounds against Northwest Christian.

Taylor Mounts contributed 22 points and seven rebounds against Northwest Christian.