Bearcats Rally Past Chapman, 57-55, as Dart Registers Double-Double

Senior Scores Winning Basket with 2:00 Left, Finishes with 17 Points, 14 Boards

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

ORANGE, CALIF. -- Led by senior post Sean Dart (Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.), the Willamette University Bearcats rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half to defeat Chapman University, 57-55, in the second round of the Chapman Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Dart scored the go-ahead basket with 2:00 remaining for a 56-55 lead, and added an insurance free throw with 0.4 seconds left. He finished the game with 17 points and 14 rebounds, as he registered his second consecutive double-double.

In Willamette's 91-86 overtime loss to the University of Redlands in the first round of the tournament, Dart recorded 23 points and 14 boards.

The Bearcats improved to 4-6 on the season. Chapman dropped to 4-5 overall.

After Dart scored as the game entered the final two minutes, both teams were unable to add points to the scoreboard. The Bearcats still held a one-point margin when Jordan Young of Chapman took an off-balance five-footer in the closing seconds. Dart hauled down the rebound and was fouled with 0.4 seconds on the clock.

Dart hit the first free throw for a 57-55 advantage. He missed the second shot and Takeshi Clifford grabbed the rebound for Chapman. The Panthers immediately called timeout.

With 0.3 seconds remaining, the Panthers threw a court-long pass to Colin Chadwick, who caught the ball and missed an 8-foot jumper that bounced off the far side of the rim as time expired.

Even if Chadwick made the field goal attempt, the shot most likely would not have counted. NCAA rules indicate that a pass may be redirected (tipped) into the basket, but not caught and then shot, if 0.3 seconds or less time is left on the clock.

Willamette trailed 43-32 with 12:45 remaining in the game, but scored the next seven points to pull within 43-39 with 11:10 to go. Chapman eventually increased the lead to eight points, 51-43, with 6:26 on the clock.

The Bearcats responded with an 11-0 run. Dart opened the rally with a basket and a foul shot, and later contributed another free throw to reduce the Panthers' margin to 51-48.

Trevor Bos (Sr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) added a basket to pull the Bearcats within a single point. WU took its first lead of the game when Avery Manu (Jr., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) stole the ball, was fouled, and hit both free throws for a 52-51 advantage with 5:22 left.

Terrell Malley (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) completed the run with a jumper at the 3:49 mark, giving Willamette a 54-51 edge. Chapman earned the next four points on a jumper by Taylor Hamasaki, plus two free throws by Nick Dragovich at the 2:17 mark, as the Panthers pulled in front 55-54.

The Bearcats were behind 30-25 at halftime after trailing by nine points with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.

Chapman surged out to an early lead and was in front 17-9 after Nick Dragovich sank two free throws with 9:51 left in the half. Willamette scored the next two points, but the Panthers extended the lead to 20-11 on a 3-pointer by Takeshi Clifford at the 9:25 mark.

The next seven points went to the Bearcats as they cut the lead to 20-18.

Dart scored on a jumper with 9:10 on the clock. Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State Univ.) added a pull-up 3-pointer on a fast break with 8:40 remaining, and Kyle McNally (So., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) tacked on a jump shot with 7:27 to play in the half.

Chapman tallied nine of the next 11 points, ending with two free throws by Chadwick at the 1:54 mark, as the Panthers claimed a 29-20 lead. Willamette ended the half with a 5-1 run on a basket by Dart, a jumper by Manu and a free throw by Malley.

For the game, Malley scored 14 points to join Dart in double figures. Malley also earned four assists. Willamette shot 35.4% from the field (19 of 54) and sank 17 of 28 free throws (60.7%).

Hamasaki led the Panthers with 17 points and Dragovich contributed 10 points. Chadwick topped Chapman with 10 rebounds, while Hamasaki and Dragovich each grabbed eight boards.

The game featured 14 blocked shots. Dart registered three of Willamette's five blocks. Eight Panthers combined to block a total of nine shots, led by Justin Young with two blocks.

Willamette limited Chapman to 31.6% field goal shooting (18 of 57). The Panthers hit 16 of 23 free throws (69.6%).

The Bearcats outshot the Panthers at the free throw line in the second half, as WU made 13 of 21 charity tosses (61.9%) and Chapman converted 6 of 11 free throws (54.5%).

WU ended the game with a 47-39 rebounding margin, including 22-17 in the second half. Dart's 14 rebounds were followed by five boards each from Bos and Noah Ripley (Jr., Post, Springfield, OR/Springfield HS).

Whitworth University defeated the University of Redlands, 70-57, in the other second round game. The Pirates went 2-0 in the tournament, while Willamette and Redlands finished 1-1, and Chapman was 0-2.

Willamette will play its next game on Friday, Jan. 4 in Tacoma, Wash., against the University of Puget Sound. The Northwest Conference game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will play at home on Saturday, Jan. 5 against NWC rival George Fox University at 8 p.m.

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 57
Chapman University 55
(At Chapman Tournament)

Sean Dart scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Bearcats.

Sean Dart scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Bearcats.