Trinity Holds Off Late Rally by Bearcats, as Tigers Win 77-71

Dart and Meehan Lead Willamette with 13 Points

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

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- Trinity University built a 40-22 halftime lead and increased its advantage to 50-25 in the second half, but the Tigers had to hold off a late rally by Willamette University to defeat the Bearcats, 77-71, at the Trinity National Invitational on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Trinity improved to 7-5 on the season. Willamette dropped to 2-9.

Willamette shot just 32.0% in the first half (8 of 25). The Bearcats improved to 50.0% (19 of 38) in the second half and pulled within five points, 73-68, with 24 seconds remaining, but Trinity went 4 for 4 at the free throw line to close out the win.

Zach Lambert led Trinity with 22 points. He also supplied the Tigers with six rebounds and three assists. Ryan Beall tallied 13 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to go with five assists and two steals. Heath Hopson finished with 12 points, seven boards, two assists and two steals.

Willamette was paced by Ryan Meehan (Sr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) and Sean Dart (Jr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) with 13 points each. Dart also earned six rebounds and blocked two shots.

Terrell Malley (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) and Taylor Mounts (Sr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) tacked on 11 points each for the Bearcats. Malley led WU with seven rebounds and also achieved four assists.

Trevor Bos (So., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) supplied Willamette with nine points and a game-high six assists, plus two steals. Joseph Jackson (Fr., G, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS) added eight points, three rebounds and two steals.

Willamette and Trinity were engaged in a close battle early in the game, with eight lead changes and three ties in the first 8:34. Trinity took a 14-13 advantage on the eighth lead change with a jumper by Robert Kitzinger.

Joe Shotland added a 3-pointer for the Tigers with 10:14 remaining in the half, giving Trinity a four-point lead. WU answered with a layup by Dart on the Bearcats' next possession, cutting the lead to 17-15 at the 9:58 mark.

Trinity recorded the next 16 points, as Willamette went 5:45 without scoring. Lambert provided the final 10 points of the run on a jumper, a 3-pointer, a layup and another 3-point basket. Jackson hit a 3-pointer for the Bearcats with 4:13 left to stop the run by Trinity, but the Tigers still led 33-18.

Willamette recovered its shooting touch in the second half, but faced an 18-point deficit when the second period started. The situation worsened for the Bearcats when Trinity put together an 8-1 run for a 48-23 lead with 15:35 left.

After Kyle McNally (Fr., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) put in a layup for Willamette and Jonathan Wilt added a layup for Trinity, the Tigers were again in front by 25 points, 50-25, with 14:02 remaining.

The Bearcats used a 13-5 run that featured six different scorers to pull within 55-38 at the 10:13 mark. Trinity extended its advantage to 21 points and held a 65-44 margin with 7:14 to go.

WU launched one final massive comeback effort. The Bearcats needed only 2:11 to reduce the deficit to nine points, 65-56. The 12-0 offensive surge started with layups by Meehan and Dart, followed by 3-pointers from Meehan and Bos. Avery Manu (So., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) completed the run with a layup.

Beall scored a basket for the Tigers, but Bos answered with a 3-pointer for the Bearcats, as WU pulled within 67-59. Trinity gained some additional separation with a 5-0 run, extending the margin to 72-59 with 1:03 left.

It appeared that Trinity had the game locked up until Malley and Bos drained 3-pointers to cut the lead to 72-65 with 31 seconds on the clock.

William Young sank the second of two free throws for Trinity six seconds later, only to have Mounts respond with a 3-pointer for WU, reducing the lead to five points, 73-68, at the 24-second mark.

Hopson prevented WU from completing the comeback, as he sank two free throws for the Tigers with 22 seconds left and added two more with 16 seconds remaining.

Meehan scored the final points of the game for Willamette on a 3-pointer with two seconds to go. It was the Bearcats' fourth trifecta in the final 47 seconds and their seventh in the last 6:03.

Trinity shot 44.3% for the game (27 of 61), including 10 of 25 (40.0%) on 3-point shots. The Tigers sank 13 of 22 free throws (59.1%). Willamette finished at 42.9% on field goals (27 of 63) and made 10 of 30 three-pointers (33.3%). WU was 7 of 10 at the free throw line.

Willamette will return to action on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, when they will take on Northwest Conference rival Pacific University in a game at Cone Field House. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Trinity University (Texas) 77
Willamette University 71
Sean Dart scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots against Trinity.

Sean Dart scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots against Trinity.