Mitchell Scores 35 Points as WU Downs Pomona-Pitzer, 80-72

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- Junior post Cameron Mitchell (Portland, OR/Grant HS/University of Redlands) scored 35 points and achieved 12 rebounds, leading Willamette University past Pomona-Pitzer, 80-72, in the second round of the David Wells Classic on Saturday, Nov. 29. The Bearcats improved to 1-3 with the win, while Pomona-Pitzer dropped to 1-3.

In the other second round game on Saturday, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps defeated Oberlin College (Ohio), 67-60, to finish 2-0 in the tournament. Willamette and Pomona-Pitzer each went 1-1, while Oberlin went 0-2. CMS hosted Friday's first round games, while Pomona-Pitzer hosted the second round.

Mitchell scored 15 points in the first half, as he made 5 of 8 field goals and went 5 for 5 at the line. His efforts helped the Bearcats build a 44-37 lead at the intermission. WU shot 58.1% as a team during the first 20 minutes.

The first half included six ties and five lead changes. Pomona-Pitzer was in front 26-22 at the 8:31 mark, but Willamette scored the next 11 points to take a 33-26 lead just over two minutes later. Ricky Thompson (So., Wing, Temecula, CA/Temecula Valley HS) completed the run with a 3-point basket as the clock reached 6:28.

Pomona-Pitzer cut the lead to a single point, 36-35, following a jumper by Greg Wright with 4:36 left in the half. The Bearcats closed the stanza with an 8-2 run. Mitchell contributed a traditional three-point play with a basket and a foul shot during the run. McClary provided the other five points on a 3-point shot and a jumper.

Although Mitchell's performance in the first half was impressive, his second half efforts produced even greater results. He was 8 of 9 from the field over the final 20 minutes, as he tallied 20 additional points. Mitchell earned six rebounds in each half.

Willamette never lost the lead during the final period, but the Bearcats had to hold off the Sagehens several times. Pomona-Pitzer pulled within 49-47 at the 14:56 mark, when Wright grabbed an offensive rebound and scored.
Nick Babij (Sr., Wing, Ontario, OR/Ontario HS) responded with a 3-point basket on WU's next possession and Mitchell tacked on a jumper with 14:01 to go.

The Sagehens nearly caught the Bearcats with 9:48 on the clock, after Shawn Stephan sank two free throws to reduce the lead to 59-58. A jumper by Thompson and two baskets by Mitchell over the next 1:28 returned Willamette to a seven-point advantage, 65-58.

Pomona-Pitzer edged within 68-65 on a jumper by Wright with 5:19 remaining, but an 8-0 run by the 'Cats sealed the victory. Willamette took an 11-point lead when Mitchell completed the run with a basket and a free throw at the 1:46 mark .

Mitchell finished one point short of his career high of 36, set last year in a double-overtime loss at the University of Puget Sound in the final game of the regular season. This year, Mitchell has averaged 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He has connected on 62.3% of his shots (33 of 53).

Kyler McClary (Sr., Post, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) provided WU with 13 points and eight rebounds. Babij tacked on 12 points and four boards. He was 4 of 6 on field goals (2 of 3 three-pointers and went 2 for 2 at the line. Thompson also went 4 for 6 from the floor and finished with nine points.

Robbie Kunke (So., PG, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) achieved seven assists for the Bearcats. Josh Erickson (Sr., PG, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) supplied five assists and three steals.

Pomona-Pitzer ended the game with three players in double figures. Adam Chaimowitz and Wright led the team with 14 points each, while Shawn Stephan contributed 13 points. Chaimowitz also produced six rebounds. Wright was 7 of 11 from the field and topped the Sagehens' with eight rebounds.

Jeremy Namkung earned eight points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals for Pomona-Pitzer. The Sagehens shot 52.8% on the night (28 of 53) and went 9 of 15 (60.0%) at the free throw line.

Two of Pomona-Pitzer's double-digit scorers fouled out in the second half. Stephan picked up his fifth foul with 8:10 remaining. Wright fouled out with 3:36 to go.

Willamette was 32 of 60 from the field (53.3%). The Bearcats made 12 of 18 free throws (66.7%) and won the rebounding battle, 31-29. Both teams kept control of the ball, as WU had just 10 turnovers and the Sagehens lost the ball only nine times.

The Bearcats will return to California in less than a week to take on Menlo College on Friday, Dec. 5. Game time in Atherton, Calif., is set for 7:30 p.m. WU will play the Bendigo Braves from Australia in an exhibition game in Atherton on Sunday, Dec. 7.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 80
Pomona-Pitzer 72
(David Wells Classic)
Cameron Mitchell scored 35 points and grabbed 12 boards. He was 13 of 17 on field goals.

Cameron Mitchell scored 35 points and grabbed 12 boards. He was 13 of 17 on field goals.

California native Ricky Thompson scored nine points against Pomona-Pitzer.

California native Ricky Thompson scored nine points against Pomona-Pitzer.