Willamette Holds Off Boxers, 80-76, at Cone Field House

Kunke Earns 17 Points, 10 Boards, 5 Assists

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University shot 61.5% in the first half and struggled from the field in the second half, but held off Pacific University, 80-76, in a Northwest Conference game at Cone Field House on Saturday, Feb. 5. Freshman guard Trevor Bos (Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) clinched the win by hitting two free throws with five seconds left to create the final score.

The Bearcats, who defeated Linfield on a basket with 1.4 seconds left on Friday, improved to 6-15 overall, 3-9 in the NWC. Pacific dropped to 3-18 overall, 2-10 in the conference.

WU owned a 77-72 advantage at the 2:22 mark. The Boxers tallied the next four points on layups by Andrew Beatty with 52 seconds and 19 seconds left to cut the margin to a single point.

Beatty's first layup followed a blocked shot by teammate Carson Bartlett at the other end of the court to stop a driving layup by Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) with 1:01 remaining. The second layup followed a turnover by WU with 35 seconds on the clock.

Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) of WU received the in-bounds pass after Pacific pulled within a point. He was fouled by Beatty with 17 seconds to go. Mounts missed the first free throw, but nailed the second to give the Bearcats a 78-76 edge.

Pacific called timeout with 13 seconds left. Beatty committed a turnover six seconds later and Carson Bartlett of the Boxers was forced to foul Bos with five seconds on the clock. Bos swished both free throws.

Colin Wester of Pacific, who started the game on fire with four 3-pointers in the first five minutes, finished the night with a game-high 37 points. He made 13 of 23 field goals, hit 5 of 10 three-pointers and went 6 for 6 at the line.

Robbie Kunke (Sr, G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) provided Willamette with a double-double as he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He also earned five assists and two steals. He now has 497 career assists, just five away from the WU record.

Kunke connected on 5 of 9 field goals and sank 7 of 11 free throws. With post Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon U.) still out with a foot injury, Kunke, a 6'4" point guard, alternated between the point and an inside position during the game.

His efforts sparked Willamette to a 46-30 halftime lead, as the Bearcats made 16 of 26 shots in the first 20 minutes. Mounts scored 16 points for WU in the first half, while Kunke achieved nine points, eight boards and four assists.

For the game, Mounts and Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) tied for the WU scoring lead with 19 points each. Mounts also grabbed 10 rebounds, including four in the final seven minutes. Malley also reached double digits for Willamette, as he achieved 11 points, while connecting on three 3-pointers.

Wester was the only Boxer in double figures, but four Pacific players finished with eight points. The Boxers shot just 29.0% in the first half (9 of 31), before improving to 54.8% (17 of 31) in the second half to finish 26 of 62 (41.9%).

The Bearcats fell off to 29.7% (11 of 37) over the final 20 minutes. Overall, WU was 27 of 62 (42.9%) from the field. The Bearcats hit 9 of 12 free throws in the second half to finish 15 of 25 for the game.

Willamette will return to action on Friday, Feb. 11 with a road game against the NWC leaders from Whitworth University. Game time in Spokane, Wash., between the Bearcats and the Pirates is slated for 8 p.m. (PST).

Whitworth, which defeated Pacific Lutheran University, 85-59, on Saturday, is 21-0 overall, 12-0 in the NWC. The Pirates, currently ranked #2 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, may move up to #1 following a loss by top-ranked College of Wooster on Saturday.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 80
Pacific University 76
Ryan Meehan hit 7 of 14 field goals, including 5 of 9 three-pointers for Willamette.

Ryan Meehan hit 7 of 14 field goals, including 5 of 9 three-pointers for Willamette.