George Fox Outscores Willamette, 86-78

Manu Provides Bearcats with 19 Points

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- A.J. Grant scored 22 points and went 4 for 5 on three-point attempts to lead George Fox University to an 86-78 win over Willamette University in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Wheeler Sports Center. The Bruins concluded the season with a 16-9 record, including 9-7 in the NWC.

GFU earned a 47-34 lead in the first half. The Bruins recorded the game's first six points and surged out to a 9-1 advantage. A bit later, WU trailed 14-4 after Atkins scored on a layup with 16:17 left in the half.

Willamette tallied the next seven points on a layup by Talanoa Smith (Jr., G, Pago Pago, American Samoa/Tafuna HS), a 3-pointer by Bridger Harlington (Fr., Wing, Lake Tapps, WA/Auburn Riverside HS) and a pair of free throws by Jake Stevens (Fr., F, Eagle, ID/Eagle HS) to pull within 14-11 at the 13:43 mark.

Over the next 3:24, George Fox went on an 11-2 run to create a 25-13 lead. The Bearcats answered with a 3-point basket from Harlington, but GFU used a free throw by Jason Martin and a 3-pointer by Seth Brent to extend the margin to 29-16. The Bruins remained in front by double digits until halftime.

Willamette gradually reduced the lead in the early part of the second half. Alex Hansen (Sr., Wing, Reno, NV/Galena HS) drained a 3-point shot six seconds into the half, and the Bearcats were within 49-41 as the clock passed 18:07 following a jumper by Kyle McNally (Jr., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS).

The Bearcats were as close as 57-50 with 14:06 left on a layup and a foul shot by Alex Brown (Jr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS), but WU couldn't continue the rally. The Bruins regained control by scoring the next 10 points, while Willamette didn't score for nearly four minutes. George Fox remained in front by double digits until the final two minutes.

Grant was one of four Bruins in double figures. Spencer Bolte contributed 19 points, while Sean Atkins and Seth Brent each supplied GFU with 13 points.

Willamette senior Avery Manu (Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) ended his career with a 19-point night. He hit 5 of 9 field goals and made 9 of 12 free throws. He also achieved three rebounds and one assist, while committing just one turnover in 26 minutes played.

Brown scored 11 points for the Bearcats. He was 5 of 7 from the field and made his only free throw attempt.

Willamette shot 44.3% from the field (27 of 61) and 44.4% from 3-point range (8 of 18), compared to 40.3% overall (29 of 72) overall and 33.3% on 3-pointers (10 of 30) for George Fox. GFU offset the lower percentages by finishing with more total baskets as the result of a 28-10 margin in points off turnovers. WU lost the ball 22 times, while GFU committed 16 turnovers. 

George Fox and Willamette were nearly even in rebounding, with the Bruins holding a 43-42 edge. Cole Larson led GFU with nine rebounds, while Bolte supplied seven. Brandon Luedtke (So., F, Meridian, ID/Mt. View HS) topped WU with seven boards. McNally grabbed six rebounds.

The Bearcats ended the season at 3-22 overall, 1-15 in the NWC. Willamette lost 13 games by eight or fewer points.


George Fox University 86
Willamette University 78

Avery Manu scored 19 points in his final game for the Bearcats. The senior wing was 5 of 9 on field goals and 9 for 12 at the free throw line.

Avery Manu scored 19 points in his final game for the Bearcats. The senior wing was 5 of 9 on field goals and 9 for 12 at the free throw line.