Mounts Scores 24 Points, Hits Winning Basket, as Bearcats Edge Bruins, 77-75

Willamette Rallies from 9-Point Deficit in Second Half

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University senior Taylor Mounts (Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) hit a 20-foot fade-away jump shot with six seconds left to send the Bearcats to a 77-75 victory over George Fox University in the final home game for Mounts and two other Willamette seniors. The Bearcats rallied from a 39-31 halftime deficit. WU also trailed 50-41 with 15:44 remaining and 55-47 with 12:12 to go.

Mounts finished with a game-high 24 points. Sean Atkins topped George Fox with 20 points. The win by Willamette avenged an 89-87 overtime loss at George Fox on Jan. 13.

Although GFU held several leads between six and nine points, there were still 12 ties and 10 lead changes. Nine ties and seven lead changes occurred in the first half. The others were in the final 3:17.

The Bruins held a 66-60 advantage after a layup and a foul shot by Anthony Sanchez with 5:57 remaining. Willamette cut the lead to two points with a pair of jump shots by Mounts. Atkins tacked on two points for GFU at the free throw line with 4:19 left, giving the Bruins a 68-64 margin.

Terrell Malley (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) scored on a 3-pointer for the Bearcats 27 seconds later to pull WU within one point. The Bearcats moved into the lead for the first time in the second half, 69-68, when Trevor Bos (So., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) hit a jumper at the 3:17 mark.

Jon Adrian sank a 3-point shot for George Fox with 2:55 to go, as the Bruins claimed a 71-69 lead. Sanchez missed two free throws for GFU with 2:38 on the clock, before Malley of Willamette converted two free throw with 2:25 left to tie the game.

Sanchez made 1 of 2 free throws at the 2:09 mark and again with 1:45 remaining, as GFU took a 73-71 lead. Mounts tied the game on a mid-range jump shot with 1:35 to go and put WU in front, 75-73, with a baseline jumper from the right side with 49 seconds to go.

Atkins scored on a well-guarded jump shot for George Fox with 32 seconds left, knotting the game at 75-75. After calling time-out with 16.9 seconds on the clock, the Bearcats ran the game-tying play, with Mounts hitting a lengthy two-point fade-away shot while being closely guarded.

Sanchez attempted a 22-foot three-pointer for the Bruins with one second left, but Sean Dart (Jr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/MSU-Billings) challenged the shot as he ran back on defense. The ball bounced off the right side of the basket as time expired.

Willamette won the game despite poor shooting in the first half. The Bearcats connected on just 10 of 40 field goals (25.0%) prior to halftime, including 0 for 9 on 3-pointers. Meanwhile, George Fox shot 44.1% (15 of 34) in the first half.

The Bearcats created significantly more offensive success in the second half, as Willamette shot 56.3% (18 of 32). WU finished the night only 2 of 15 on 3-pointers, but both were by Malley in the final 7:26 of the game.

Malley and Dart joined Mounts in double figures for the Bearcats. Malley scored 14 points, while Dart supplied 11 points to go with a team-high eight rebounds.

Willamette achieved a 47-37 rebounding advantage, including 20 offensive rebounds. Fifteen of the offensive boards were earned in the first half, when Willamette scored 13 second-chance points. WU finished the game with 18 points from the offensive glass.

Dart was followed on the WU rebounding chart by Mounts and Meehan with seven boards apiece. Mounts also blocked two shots and recorded two steals.

Atkins was one of four GFU players with double-digit scoring. Sanchez provided 16 points, while Spencer Bolte scored 12 and Mike Taylor added 11. Taylor claimed a double-double by hauling down a game-high 11 rebounds. Sanchez grabbed eight rebounds for the Bruins.

In addition to scoring 20 points, Atkins registered five rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. Jon Adrian also blocked two shots for the Bruins, who accumulated five blocks overall. Corey Clark earned six assists for the Bruins, while Taylor added five.

The Bearcats have won three of their last four games. All three wins have included solid efforts from Willamette's freshmen and sophomores off the bench.

In the win over George Fox, Avery Manu (So.,Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) scored six points and grabbed three rebounds, while Alex Brown (Fr., Wing/Post, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) supplied five points, two boards and a blocked shot. Noah Ripley (So., Post, Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) and Derek Newhof (Fr., G, Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) scored four points apiece. Ripley also produced five rebounds.

A crowd of 2,100 fans watched the game at Gordie James Court/Cone Field House on Senior Night for the Bearcats. Willamette honored its three seniors -- Mounts, Meehan and Cole Douglas (Grad., Wing, Tacoma, WA/Bellarmine Prep) -- along with their parents, prior to the game.

Willamette will close out the season with a pair of road games in Washington next weekend. The Bearcats will play at Whitman College on Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. (PST) in Walla Walla, before taking on Whitworth University in Spokane on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 77
George Fox University 75
Senior Taylor Mounts scored a game-high 24 points including the winning basket.

Senior Taylor Mounts scored a game-high 24 points including the winning basket.