St. Martin's Builds Big Lead in First Half, Holds Off Bearcats, 93-83

Meehan Scores 22 Points for Willamette

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

LACEY, WASH. -- Willamette University struggled at the beginning of the first half and again late in the opening period, as Saint Martin's University built a 55-36 lead on its way to a 93-83 victory over the Bearcats on Wednesday, Dec. 6. St. Martin's improved to 3-5 on the season, while Willamette fell to 1-6.

The Bearcats rallied in the second half, getting as close at six points at 81-75 with less than seven minutes remaining. The Saints, who compete in NCAA Division II, used the large halftime lead to their advantage, as they held off the Bearcats and closed out the win. Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III, lost its sixth game in a row.

St. Martin's scored the game's first eight points, but Willamette answered with six consecutive points if its own. Sean Dart (Jr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon U.) completed the mini-run with a layup at the 15:52 mark.

The Saints responded with another run, this time producing 10 unanswered points for an 18-6 lead with 12:23 remaining in the half. Will Bond opened and closed the run with a 3-pointer. In between, Jeremy Green scored on a layup and a jump shot.

Willamette pulled within five points at 28-23, when Trevor Bos (So., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) grabbed an offensive rebound and sent the ball to Dart for a jumper with 7:26 on the clock. The Bearcats trailed 34-27 before the Saints ended the half with a 21-9 run.

Green scored 17 of his game high 23 points for St. Martin's in the first half. He was 8 of 9 on field goals during the half, including one three-pointer.

Bond concluded the half with 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting, 2 of 3 on 3-pointers. The Saints shot 56.4% during the half (22 of 39), while WU shot 33.3% (13 of 39). Ryan Meehan (Sr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) registered 10 points in the first 20 minutes for the Bearcats and finished the night with a team-high 22 points.

An 11-6 run by St. Martin's at the start of the second half, increased the lead to 66-42 with 17:29 left. Green contributed four points to the Saints' offensive surge. He scored just two more points the rest of the game.

The Saints matched their 24-point margin one more time before WU began its comeback. Meehan started the rally by hitting a 3-point basket with 14:49 remaining to cut the lead to 72-51. Kyle McNally (Fr., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) added a tip-in and Derek Newhof (Fr., G, Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) sank to free throws to pull WU four points closer.

Willamette gradually reduced the lead. The Bearcats moved within nine points at 81-72, when McNally hit both ends of a two-shot foul with 7:20 to go. Less than a minute later, Meehan tacked on a 3-pointer -- his fourth of the game -- to get WU within six points.

Green tallied his final points on the contest on a jumper with 6:04 left, as St. Martin's took an 83-76 lead. The margin returned to six points when Meehan put through two free throws with 4:55 on the clock. SMU scored next, but  WU got within six points, 85-79, when Dart earned a layup at the 4:18 mark.

Ryan Votaw connected on a 3-pointer for St. Martin's with 3:38 left to give the Saints an 88-79 advantage. Meehan scored next on a layup, but St. Martin's countered with a 5-0 to clinch the win.

WU outscored the Saints in the second half, 47-38, on the strength of 14-for-16 shooting (76.9%) at the charity stripe, while SMU made just 3 of 8 free throw attempts over the final 20 minutes.

Both teams scored 15 baskets during the half, as WU went 15 for 33 (45.5%) and the Saints were 15 for 29 (51.7%). Each team also hit three 3-pointers during the half.

Willamette gained a sizable edge on the glass with a 46-33 rebounding margin, including 23-11 in the second half. The Bearcats hauled down 24 offensive boards.

The game featured high pressure from both teams throughout the evening, resulting in 54 turnovers. St. Martin's committed 25 turnovers and Willamette lost the ball 29 times. WU earned 18 steals, including five by Joseph Jackson (Fr., G, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS). The Saints recorded 16 steals, with five registered by Green.

Green had an outstanding game for St. Martin's. In addition to scoring 23 points and earning five rebounds, he also grabbed nine boards. He was 11 of 14 from the field.  Votaw and Kyle Karnofski each tallied 14 points for the Saints, while Pendleton and Roger O'Neill produced 13 points apiece. Pendleton also achieved a game-high 12 rebounds, while Brady Bomber earned 12 assists.

Meehan's 22 points for Willamette were earned on 8 of 13 shooting (4 of 6 on 3-pointers). Dart contributed 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Taylor Mounts (Sr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) added 10 points and six rebounds. McNally scored eight points and grabbed six boards.

Willamette has very little time between games. The Bearcats will play at Montana State University of NCAA Division I on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MST)/6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
St. Martin's University 93
Willamette University 83
Ryan Meehan helped the Bearcats get back in the game in the second half.

Ryan Meehan helped the Bearcats get back in the game in the second half.