Babcock-Krenk Scores 26 Points, but Saint Martin's Downs Bearcats, 75-61

Saints use Strong Second Half to Overcome Willamette's 4-Point Halftime Lead

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State Univ.) of Willamette University scored a career-high 26 points and hit 7 of 9 three-points shots, but Saint Martin's University played a strong second half to defeat the Bearcats, 75-61, at Cone Field House on Friday, Dec. 7.

Saint Martin's, from NCAA Division II and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, upped its record to an even 4-4 on the season. Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference, fell to 3-5 overall.

The Saints were led by Roger O'Neill with 18 points, Lucas Shannon with 16 points and Matt Dodson with 12 points and nine rebounds. Shannon and Rei Jensen each earned seven rebounds, while Brady Bomber contributed six assists.

Joining Babcock-Krenk in double figures for Willamette were Terrell Malley (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) and Sean Dart (Sr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.), each with 11 points. Kyle McNally (So., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) led the Bearcats with nine rebounds, while Babcock-Krenk brought down seven boards.

Babcock-Krenk had an exceptional first half, as he sank 5 of 5 three-point attempts. He made four of the 3-pointers in the first 7:03 of action as Willamette surged out to a 19-10 lead. The Bearcats led 8-2, before Saint Martin's tied the game at 10-10. Willamette countered with nine straight points on a trio of 3-pointers, including two by Babcock-Krenk.

Also contributing a 3-pointer to Willamette's early lead was Trevor Bos (Sr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS). Malley and Alex Brown (So., Wing/Post, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) each scored a two-point basket for WU in the first seven minutes of play.

Willamette held a 10-point lead at 22-12 with 11:13 left in the half, after Oliver Hughes (Sr., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) became the third Bearcat to put through a 3-pointer. SMU pulled within 22-17 with 9:24 on the clock and cut the lead to 26-23 on a jumper by Shannon with 4:45 remaining.

Malley jump started the WU attack with a 3-pointer 21 seconds later. He added a driving layup at the 4:01 mark for a 31-23 lead. The Bearcats, who were 8 of 10 on three-pointers during the first half, held a 36-32 lead at the break. WU also led in rebounding 18-14 at the intermission.

Saint Martin's turned up its play in the second half, as the Saints grabbed nine offensive rebounds, limited Willamette to 23.8% shooting (5 of 21), and gave up only two 3-pointers.

The Saints scored the first seven points of the second half. WU answered with a dunk by McNally and a jumper by Dart to take a 40-39 lead with 18:10 to go.

An 8-2 run by Saint Martin's, including a layup and a 3-pointer by Shannon, gave the Saints a 47-42 advantage with 13:36 on the clock. The Saints increased their lead to 57-47 after a jumper by Dodson with 8:52 left.

Willamette pulled within six points twice. The Bearcats cut the lead to 57-51 on a layup by Dart at the 7:47 mark. WU made the score 60-54 after Babcock-Krenk was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws with 6:50 remaining. SMU rebuilt its advantage with a 10-4 run over the next 3:24.

In the second half, Saint Martins shot 45.9% (17 of 37) to finish the game at 45.5% overall (30 of 66). The Saints connected on 4 of 13 three-pointers during the game (30.8%) and sank 11 of 16 free throws (68.8%).

The Saints gained a 26-20 rebounding edge over the final 20 minutes for a 40-38 margin overall. During the game, SMU forced WU into 15 turnovers, while the Saints lost the ball just six times.

Willamette hit only 2 of 9 three-point shots in the second half and ended night 10 of 19 from behind the arc (52.6%). The Bearcats converted 13 of 24 free throws (54.2%).

The next game for Willamette is not until Tuesday, Dec. 18, when the Bearcats will take on University of Redlands at the Chapman University Tournament in Orange, Calif. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. (PST). Willamette will battle Chapman in the second round of the tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

BOX SCORE

Saint Martin's University 75
Willamette University 61

Photo gallery
(By Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Elliot Babcock-Krenk scored 26 points while hitting 7 of 9 three-pointers and 5 of 5 free throws.

Elliot Babcock-Krenk scored 26 points while hitting 7 of 9 three-pointers and 5 of 5 free throws.

Terrell Malley thrilled the crowd with a couple of exciting baskets on his way to 11 points.

Terrell Malley thrilled the crowd with a couple of exciting baskets on his way to 11 points.

Kyle McNally led the Bearcats with nine rebounds, including eight boards in the second half.

Kyle McNally led the Bearcats with nine rebounds, including eight boards in the second half.