Willamette Rallies from 11-Point Deficit to Defeat Linfield, 83-80, in NWC Opener

Babcock-Krenk Breaks Tie with 8.7 Seconds Left; Bos Seals Win with Two Steals

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State) hit a 14-foot jumper with 8.7 seconds left to break an 80-80 tie, and Willamette University went on to defeat Linfield College, 83-80, in the Northwest Conference opener for the Bearcats on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The Bearcats improved their record to 3-4 overall, 1-0 in the NWC. Linfield fell to 1-5 on the season, 1-1 in the NWC.

Willamette rallied from an 11-point deficit with 10:13 remaining and a 75-65 deficit with 4:53 to go.

After Babcock-Krenk gave WU the lead, Trevor Bos (Sr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) secured the win. Bos stole the ball with 3.5 seconds left and made the second of two free throws with 2.0 seconds remaining.

Linfield's in-bounds pass after the free throw went way down the court to center Andrew Batiuk at the top of the key near the Wildcats' basket. The next pass was designed to set up a 3-point shot, but Bos earned another interception with one second left and time ran out.

Terrell Malley (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) led Willamette in scoring with 23 points. Sean Dart (Sr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) provided WU with 18 points and led all players on both teams with 17 rebounds.

Avery Manu (Jr., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) added 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting, while Bos finished with 10 points. Joseph Jackson (So., G, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS) grabbed five rebounds.

Brandon Harris of Linfield scored 23 points to share game-high honors with Malley. Batiuk contributed 19 points, five steals, four assists and a team-high eight rebounds for the Wildcats. Zach Meikle earned nine points and six boards, while Matt Kalbfleisch scored eight points and achieved four steals.

The first half was a back-and-forth battle.

Willamette took a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by Manu and Malley. Brandon Harris scored Linfield's first points at the 18:33 mark on a 3-pointer as well. The basket started a 12-2 run as the Wildcats moved in front, 12-8.

The Bearcats countered with a 6-2 run that tied the score at 14-14 when Manu made another 3-point shot with 12:43 left in the half.

Linfield led for most of the remainder of the half. Even so, WU rallied from deficits of 22-16 and 24-19 to take a 26-24 advantage. Malley scored the go-ahead basket on a 3-pointer from the right corner with 7:15 on the clock.

Two baskets by Brandon Harris gave Linfield a 28-26 lead with 6:02 left, and the teams exchanged baskets for several minutes.

Late in the half, Dart grabbed a rebound and scored for Willamette with 58 seconds to go. He also banked in a 16-foot jumper with seven seconds remaining, as WU tied the score at 40-40.

Manu scored on a jumper just a few seconds into the second half, as Willamette moved in front. The Wildcats equalized on their first possession with a jumper from Batiuk. Neither team led by more than two points in the first five minutes of the half, as there were four ties and four lead changes.

Linfield led by three points, 52-49, after Nick Cantonwine sank a jump shot with 14:39 remaining. Two free throws by Noah Ripley (Jr., Post, Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) pulled WU within one point, before the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run for a 58-51 advantage.

Willamette trailed 60-55 after Alex Brown (So., Wing/Post, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) scored a basket with 11:51 to go, but Linfield tallied the next six points for a 66-55 lead at the 10:13 mark.

A pull-up jumper by Bos eight seconds later resulted in a 3-point play when he converted a free throw after being fouled. Dart added another free throw at 9:47, as WU cut the lead to 66-59.

The Wildcats led by 10 points three times during the next five minutes, including a 75-65 lead when Kalbfleisch put through a jump shot with 4:53 left.

WU registered the next six points, as Bos and Dart each contributed one basket and hit 1 of 2 free throws. Linfield's lead was reduced to 75-71 with 3:46 remaining.

It seemed Linfield might gain momentum when Mitch Cokley sank a 3-pointer with 3:28 to go, but WU kept coming back. Babcock-Krenk put in a jumper with 3:08 left, and Malley added a 3-pointer at 1:43, cutting the margin to 78-76.

After a turnover by the Wildcats, Malley scored on a driving layup for a 78-78 tie. Harris made a basket at the 1:03 mark, but Malley hit two free throws with 43.5 seconds left to tie the game. Batiuk missed a shot for Linfield at the 28-second mark, and Babcock-Krenk secured the rebound to set up the go-ahead possession.

Willamette shot 48.4% for the game (30 of 62), including 51.7% in the second half (15 of 29). Linfield also finished at 48.4% (31 of 64), including 45.5% (15 of 33) in the final 20 minutes. WU hit 6 of 16 shots (37.5%) from behind the arc, while the Wildcats went 3 for 12 (25.0%) on 3-pointers.

The Bearcats gained a 43-32 rebounding edge, with a 17-11 margin in offensive boards. The rebounding effort helped WU offset 54.8% shooting at the line (17 of 31). Linfield was 15 of 22 on free throws (68.2%).

Up next for Willamette is a non-conference game at Cone Field House on Friday, Dec. 7 against St. Martin's University from NCAA Division II. St. Martin's competes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 83
Linfield College 80


Terrell Malley led the Bearcats with 23 points, including three 3-point baskets.

Terrell Malley led the Bearcats with 23 points, including three 3-point baskets.