George Fox Sneaks Past Bearcats, 91-88, in NWC Opener

Taylor Scores 28 for GFU, Meehan Hits 24 Points for WU

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

SALEM, ORE. -- George Fox University shot 51.5% in the second half and ended the game with a 10-6 run, as the Bruins defeated Willamette University, 91-88, on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at Cone Field House. The game was the Northwest Conference opener for both teams. GFU ended the night at 1-3 overall, 1-0 in the NWC. Willamette moved to 2-4 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.

Willamette placed five players in double figures, led by Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) with 24 points. Meehan hit 12 of 12 free throws to become only the fourth Bearcat all-time to go perfect at the free throw line with 12 or more attempts in a single game. The school record of 13 for 13 was set by Cameron Mitchell ('10) against Whitman College on Feb. 7, 2009.

Meehan's four-point play on a 3-pointer and a foul shot with 2:28 left in the game WU an 82-81 lead.

Also reaching double figures for Willamette were Marcus Holmes (Sr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS), Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.), Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) and Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School). Holmes tallied 23 points, while Dart and Kunke each scored 12. Mounts finished with 11 points.

Dart led WU with 12 rebounds to complete his third double-double of the season. Mounts grabbed six rebounds. Kunke earned five boards and four assists.

Mike Taylor led George Fox with 28 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. He gave GFU the lead for good at 84-82 on a layup and foul shot with 2:09 remaining and helped clinch the win by hitting 4 of 6 free throws in the final 33 seconds.

Rich Smith tacked on 24 points for the Bruins and led all players with 14 rebounds. Stephen Wiseley contributed 21 points and five boards for GFU.

The Bruins ended the first half with a 12-5 run to take a 41-35 lead at halftime. Willamette charged forward at the start of the second half, as the Bearcats used a 10-4 run to achieve a 45-45-tie.

George Fox countered with a 5-0 run on a layup by Cole Whitehurst and a 3-pointer by Stephen Wiseley, only to have WU respond with a 5-0 run of its own. Holmes started the run and Dart added a layup to tie the score, 50-50, with 15:25 to play.

Taylor of GFU was fouled while attempting a 3-point shot 23 seconds later. He converted all three free throws to give the Bruins a 53-50 lead.

GFU continued to gain the lead and Willamette kept rallying. The Bruins led 59-53, but the margin slipped to a single point, 59-58, after a layup and foul shot by Meehan with 12:06 to go. The Bruins owned a 71-62 margin after Wiseley sank two free throws at the 8:07 mark.

Willamette scored the next eight points, ending with a 3-pointer by Holmes, to cut the George Fox lead to 71-70 with 6:29 on the clock. Later, the Bearcats tied the score at 74-74 and 76-76. GFU tallied five of the next seven points for an 81-78 lead with 3:01 left, but Meehan's four-point play erased the Bruins' lead with 2:28 remaining.

Taylor's basket and foul shot at the 2:09 mark put the Bruins back in front by two points. GFU kept the lead for the remainder of the game, but led by just one point, 87-86, after Kunke converted two free throws for Willamette with 42 seconds on the clock.

The Bruins increased the lead to two points when Taylor sank the first of two charity shots with 33 second to go. Willamette rebounded the ball following the second shot, but turned the ball over with 14 seconds left. Taylor was fouled with 12 second on the clock and made both free throws for a 90-86 lead.

Holmes put in a layup for WU at the 6-second mark to cut the margin to two points. Taylor connected on just 1 of 2 free throws with five seconds left for a 91-88 lead, leaving the Bearcats with one last opportunity to tie the game. Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) missed 21-foot three-pointer as time expired.

Willamette will return to action on Friday, Dec. 3 with another Northwest Conference game, as the Bearcats take on the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

George Fox University 91
Willamette University 88

Ryan Meehan scored 24 points and made 12 of 12 free throws for Willamette.

Ryan Meehan scored 24 points and made 12 of 12 free throws for Willamette.