Bearcats Never Trail, Stop Rally by Pioneers in Second Half for 79-70 Win

Mounts Earns Double-Double with 20 Points, 16 Rebounds

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University shot 52.6% from the field (30 of 57) and limited Lewis & Clark College to 36.0% shooting (27 of 75), as the Bearcats never trailed in a 79-70 victory over the Pioneers on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Cone Field House. Willamette held off a rally by the Pioneers, who pulled within one point in the second half. WU closed the game with a 19-11 run.

Willamette was led by Terrell Malley (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS), with 22 points, and by Taylor Mounts (Sr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School), who scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Mounts also earned three assists and blocked two shots.

The Bearcats won for the second time in three games to improve to 4-18 on the season, 2-11 in the Northwest Conference. L&C fell to 11-11 overall, 6-7 in the NWC.

Lewis & Clark was paced by Ross Erickson, who scored 22 points, hit 10 of 16 field goals, and grabbed five rebounds. The Pioneers trailed 40-32 at halftime and 52-40 with 16:46 left in the game, but pulled within a single point at 60-59 on a layup by Erickson with 8:39 to go. Willamette scored the next seven points and went on to take a 71-61 lead with 3:32 left.

Joining Malley and Mounts with double-figure scoring for the Bearcats was Ryan Meehan (Sr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings). Meehan achieved 11 points and hit 5 of 8 field goals.

In addition, Meehan providing the initial defensive effort against L&C's leading scorer, James Hollins, who entered the game averaging 16.7 points per contest.

Later, several other Bearcats split time with Meehan in guarding Hollins. Their efforts limited the high-scoring backcourt player to 0 for 11 shooting and just two points, which he scored at the free throw line with 1:04 left in the game to pull L&C within 78-67.

Although Willamette kept Hollins off the scoreboard for most of the night, Marcus Wells and Scott Pisapia reached double digits for the Pioneers. Wells tallied 14 points in a solid performance that also featured six rebounds and a game-high six assists. Pisapia achieved 10 points and five boards.

Mounts scored the game's first basket on a jumper, before Erickson created the only tie of the game on a jump shot for L&C with 19:06 left in the first half. Willamette led 9-5 and 13-7 in the first few minutes, before taking a nine-point lead, 20-11, on a 3-point shot by Malley with 9:23 on the clock.

WU led by as many as 13 points during the half, including 36-23 after Mounts scored a basket with 4:20 left. The Pioneers went on a 9-2 run that reduced WU's margin to 38-32 with 54 seconds remaining. Caron Rayford tallied the final four points of the run.

Mounts scored for Willamette with three seconds left in the half. He hit an off-balance four-footer after receiving a 40-foot in-bounds pass from Trevor Bos (So., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS).

A 3-pointer by Meehan with 18:21 left in the game, gave Willamette a 45-34 advantage. The Bearcats gained a 12-point lead on a layup by Malley at the 17:15 mark, 49-37, and also led by 12 points, 52-40, when Malley swished a 3-pointer less than half a minute later to offset a 3-pointer by Erickson.

Just when it looked like WU might pull away, the Pioneers responded with an 8-0 run, cutting the difference to four points, 52-48, with 14:28 left. The run featured a free throw by Caron and two layups by Erickson, before concluding with a 3-pointer by Dinato Perconti.

About three minutes later, a driving layup by Avery Manu (So., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) gave the Bearcats a 57-52 lead. A 3-pointer by Bos extended the advantage to 60-52 with 10:03 to go.

The Pioneers registered the next seven points to pull within 60-59. Mounts answered with an 8-0 individual scoring run for the Bearcats. He hit a pair of free throws with 8:27 left and sank a jump shot at the 7:39 mark to increase WU's lead to 64-59. Neither team scored again until Mounts hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot with 6:07 remaining.

L&C scored the next basket to cut the margin to 67-61, but the Pioneers never got closer. Even so, WU's lead was just 73-65 after Erickson put in a layup with 2:10 on the clock. Malley prevented a last-minute rally when he connected on a 3-pointer at the 1:36 mark and then sank two free throws with 1:19 left, as the Bearcats upped their edge to 78-65.

Willamette received solid efforts from its starters as well as the bench. The Bearcat starters made 24 of 45 field goals (53.3%) and hit 6 of 14 three-pointers (42.9%). The WU bench tacked on 15 points, while making 6 of 12 field goals and 2 of 2 three-pointers.

Freshman guard Derek Newhof (Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) provided five points off the bench, while hitting 2 of 3 field goals.

Strong shooting by the Bearcats allowed Willamette to overcome 20 turnovers, despite forcing only eight turnovers by the Pioneers. Willamette also gained a 46-38 rebounding advantage, led by Mounts' 16 rebounds, plus six boards by Sean Dart (Jr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.).

L&C struggled from 3-point range with 8-for-35 shooting (22.9%). The Pioneers made just 8 of 17 free throws (47.1%).

The game was played one day earlier than originally scheduled. It was moved from Friday, Feb. 10 to avoid conflicts with the inauguration of Willamette President Stephen Thorsett.

Willamette will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 11 with the final regular season home game, as the Bearcats host George Fox University. Game time at Cone Field House is set for 8 p.m. (PST). Willamette will conclude the season with two road games, at Whitman College on Friday, Feb. 17 and at Whitworth University on Saturday, Feb. 18.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 79
Lewis & Clark College 70
Taylor Mounts registered his ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Taylor Mounts registered his ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and 16 rebounds.