Pacific Lutheran Surges Past Bearcats, 99-72

MacTaggart Tallies 31 Points for PLU, Mounts Puts in 30 for WU

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Pacific Lutheran University sank 11 of 20 three-pointers and made 30 of 37 free throws, as the Lutes defeated Willamette University, 99-72, in a Northwest Conference game at Cone Field House on Saturday, Jan. 22. The Lutes were led by Kyle MacTaggart, who scored 31 points, and by Andrew Earnest, who tacked on 24 points.

Willamette's top scorer on the night was Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) with 30 points. Mounts also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

PLU improved to 10-6 on the season, 5-3 in the Northwest Conference, while Willamette fell to 4-13 overall, 1-7 in the NWC. The Bearcats played without starting post Sean Dart (So., Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.), who missed the game with a foot injury.

Pacific Lutheran led 52-36 at halftime. The Lutes were in front by only one-point, 23-22, with 9:56 left in the half, but ended the period with a 29-14 run.

MacTaggart scored 18 of his points in the first 20 minutes for the Lutes, while hitting 3 of 4 three-pointers. Earnest tacked on 14 points during the half, as he made 4 of 5 3-point attempts.

Mounts from Willamette led all players at the break with 21 points. During the first half, he made 8 of 11 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws.

The lead didn't change much in the first 10 minutes of the second half, although the Lutes held a 66-45 lead at the 14:06 mark, only to have WU answer with a 6-0 run. Pacific Lutheran led 72-55 with 10:13 remaining, then went on an 11-1 run to extend the lead to 83-56 with 7:03 to go. Earnest contributed a 3-pointer, a layup and two free throws during the PLU run.

Senior post Victor Bull from Pacific Lutheran led all players with 14 rebounds, helping the Lutes attain a 47-31 rebounding margin. Bull also scored 16 points for the Lutes, to go with four steals, two assists and a blocked shot. James Conti of PLU nailed 7 of 8 free throws and finished the game with nine points.

For Willamette, the 30 points by Mounts resulted in his seventh consecutive game in double digits, including five with more than 20 points. Against Pacific Lutheran, he hit 10 of 15 field goals and converted 8 of 11 free throws.

Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) and Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) each added 10 points for the Bearcats. Kunke also registered five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) and Oliver Hughes (So., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) scored eight points apiece.

PLU shot 43.9% from the field (29 of 66), including 55.0% on three-pointers. The Lutes' 30-for-37 at the free throw line was good for 81.1%. Willamette sank 24 of 59 field goals (40.7%) and made 5 of 20 three-pointers. WU converted 19 of 27 free throws (70.4%). The game featured 52 fouls, including 29 on Willamette.

The Bearcats will play at George Fox University on Tuesday, Jan. 25 in another NWC match-up. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (PST) in Newberg, Ore.

BOX SCORE
Pacific Lutheran University 99
Willamette University 72
Taylor Mounts of Willamette hit the nets for 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Taylor Mounts of Willamette hit the nets for 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds.