Lewis & Clark Eliminates Willamette from Playoff Contention

Malley leads Bearcats with 17 points, Erickson pours in 21 for L&C

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Lewis & Clark College went on a backbreaking 16-3 first half run, then held off every Willamette University attempt to get back in the game, notching a 74-57 victory in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game at the Pamplin Sports Center on Saturday, Feb. 9.

The loss mathematically eliminates Willamette from contention for the NWC tournament.

With the win, the Pioneers improve their record to 14-9 overall, 8-6 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 7-16 overall, 4-10 in NWC play.

On the Pioneers' senior night, L&C's seniors led the way, with Ross Erickson scoring a game-high 21 points and James Hollins registering 19. Erickson also earned a game-high eight rebounds. Terrell Malley (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) paced the Bearcats with 17 points.

Alex Brown (So., Wing/Post, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) and Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State Univ.) also reached double-figures for Willamette, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Brown was especially efficient on the night, connecting on four of his six field goal attempts and all four of his free throws.

It was a game of runs early, as Lewis & Clark scored the game's first four points en route to a 13-5 lead at the 10:53 mark, but Malley went on a personal 6-0 scoring streak to close the gap to just two.

With their lead just 13-11, the Pioneers went on an extended 16-3 run over the following five minutes, pushing the margin to 15 on a James Hollins layup with under six minutes remaining in the first half.

Trailing 33-19, Willamette scored six straight points – capped by Sean Dart's layup off a nifty bounce pass from Malley – pulling back to within 33-25, but Jason Luhnow canned a trey from the top of the key, putting L&C back up by double digits heading into halftime.

Malley single-handedly kept the Bearcats competitive early on, scoring 10 points and dishing out a pair of assists to lead Willamette in the first half. Both squads were extremely physical in the period, with 24 fouls and 20 free throws between the teams. L&C earned 29 rebounds, including 14 offensive boards.

The Bearcats' efforts to get back in the game were hampered by four turnovers on their first four possessions of the second half. L&C capitalized on Willamette's largesse, scoring five quick points to grab a 44-26 lead.

The Bearcats answered with five points of their own on a Malley layup and an old-fashioned three-point play from Brown. But the Pioneers responded with an 8-1 run, extending their advantage to 20 points with around twelve minutes remaining in the game.

Willamette was considerably more aggressive going to the basket in the second half, and entered the double-bonus with 8:49 remaining, but were unable to turn that advantage into a comeback, getting no closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

The Bearcats shot just 32.1% from the floor (18 of 56), and connected on just 3 of 19 three-point attempts (15.8%). Willamette shot 18-27 from the free throw line (66.7%).

L&C connected on 26 of 68 attempts from the field (38.2%), and hit on 5 of 19 three-pointers (26.3%). The Pioneers shot 17-24 from the charity stripe. Lewis & Clark outrebounded WU just 45-41, but Willamette committed 17 turnovers to the L&C's 9.

The Bearcats will conclude the regular season at Cone Field House next weekend. Willamette will face off against Whitman College on Friday, Feb. 15, with tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).

The Bearcats will celebrate senior night on Saturday, Feb. 16 against Whitworth University. Please note that tipoff against the Pirates, ranked third in the country by D3hoops.com, is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Lewis & Clark College 74
Willamette University 57

Terrell Malley scored 17 points to top Willamette's scoring efforts.

Terrell Malley scored 17 points to top Willamette's scoring efforts.