Whitman Heats Up in First Half to Defeat Willamette, 103-71

Mounts Scores 23 Points for Bearcats; Michaels Leads Missionaries with 20 Points

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

WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- The Whitman College Missionaries lit up the nets in the first half to surge out to a 52-25 halftime lead on their way to a 103-71 victory over Willamette University on Friday, Feb. 17 at George Ball Court. Whitman outscored the Bearcats by a much closer margin of 51-46 in the second half, as Willamette improved on both ends of the court.

Whitman upped its record to 18-7 overall, 11-5 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette dropped to 5-19 overall, 3-12 in the NWC.

Taylor Mounts (Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) of Willamette led all scorers with 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting and a 6-for-7 effort at the free throw line. David Michaels was the top scorer for the Missionaries with 20 points.

Michaels also earned a game-high 10 rebounds, while Mounts hauled down a team-high eight boards for Willamette.

Whitman's success in the first half included 55.3% field goal shooting, as the Missionaries hit 21 of 38 shots. The 3-point attempts by Whitman went through the net at a similar percentage over the first 20 minutes (53.3%) with eight baskets on 15 long-range shots. Whitman also went 2 for 2 at the line.

Meanwhile, Willamette shot just 36.0% (9 of 25) in the first half, while converting 3 of 10 three-pointers. The Bearcats were 4 for 5 at the line.

In the second half, WU improved to 48.5% on field goals (16 of 33) and went 3 for 7 on 3-pointers. On defense, the Bearcats held Whitman to 42.9% shooting (15 of 35) in the second half, including 4 of 12 on threes. Whitman gained an edge at the free throw line over the final 20 minutes, sinking 17 of 21 charity shots (81.0%), while the Bearcats made 11 of 19 (57.9%).

Whitman won the rebounding battle 51-30. The Missionaries earned an 18-7 advantage on the offensive glass and claimed a 17-9 margin in second chance points. Willamette made just five more turnovers during the game (24 to 19), but the Missionaries achieved a 34-13 lead in points off turnovers.

The teams battled through the first six minutes. Whitman led 5-0, but Willamette scored the next five points to tie the game. The Bearcats held the lead at 9-7 following a jumper by Terrell Malley (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) with 16:57 on the clock.

Willamette trailed by just a single point, 14-13, after Mounts scored on a layup for the Bearcats with 14:06 left in the half. The game changed from a tight contest to a double-digit lead for the Missionaries when Whitman responded with a 21-0 run over the next 6:04.

The run by the Missionaries started with a 3-pointer and ended with three consecutive 3-pointers. Ignas Pavilonis and Peter Clark each sank two trifectas during the run. Willamette ended its scoreless streak at just under seven minutes when Ryan Meehan (Sr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) put in a layup at the 7:10 mark.

Despite trailing by 27 points at halftime, the Bearcats fought their way back with a 23-12 run that reduced the lead to 16 points, 64-48, with 11:56 left in the game. WU hit 9 of 14 field goals (64.3%) during the run, which included nine points by Mounts. Overall, seven Bearcats scored during the run.

Whitman secured control of the game by tallying 11 of the next 13 points. The Missionaries owned a 75-50 advantage with 8:27 left.

During the game, Michaels was joined in double figures by three other Missionaries. Clark earned 12 points, while Brandon Shaw tacked on 11 and Ryan Gilkey contributed 10. Drew Raher brought down eight rebounds for Whitman. LuQuam Thompson provided nine points, earned a game-high seven assists and recorded two steals.

In addition to Mounts, the Bearcats received double-digit scoring from Meehan, who produced 12 points to go with three steals. Joseph Jackson (Fr., G, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS) added eight points for the Bearcats. Meehan and Jackson each made two of Willamette's six 3-pointers.

The Bearcats will conclude the season at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., on Saturday, Feb. 18. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST). Whitworth, 21-3 overall and 14-1 in the NWC, is ranked #10 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll.

BOX SCORE

Whitman College 103
Willamette University 71

Taylor Mounts scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Bearcats.

Taylor Mounts scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Bearcats.