La Verne Holds Off Bearcats, 56-52, as Simmonds Scores 24 Points

Dart and McNally Lead Bearcats with 10 Points Each

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

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Jourdan Simmonds from the University of La Verne (Calif.) scored 24 points and hit 6 of 8 three-pointers to lead the Leopards to a 56-52 win over Willamette University in the first round of the Bon Appetit NWC Tipoff Classic at Lewis & Clark College on Friday, Nov. 16. The Leopards led by 12 points with 5:16 left, before holding off the Bearcats.

The tournament is being co-hosted by Willamette, Lewis & Clark, George Fox University and Pacific University. Willamette will host two games in the second round on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Cone Field House. L&C will take on Colorado College at 5 p.m. (PST) and the Bearcats will battle Hardin-Simmons University (Texas) at 7 p.m.

In Friday's game against La Verne, Sean Dart (Sr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) and Kyle McNally (So., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) scored 10 points each for the Bearcats.

Avery Manu (Jr., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) added seven points for Willamette, while Sam Walters (Jr., Wing, Tacoma, WA/Stadium HS) tallied six points.

McNally topped WU with six rebounds, as the Bearcats achieved a 40-25 rebounding edge. Trevor Bos (Sr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) provided five boards, four assists and three steals.

Joining Simmonds in double figures for La Verne was Alex Wolpe with 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting. The Leopards connected on 43.4% of their field goals (23 of 53) and made 8 of 15 three-pointers (53.3%).

Willamette hit 45.7% of its shots (21-46), including 5 of 12 on 3-point attempts (41.7%). La Verne forced Willamette into 23 turnovers, while the Leopards lost possession 13 times.

The Bearcats trailed 52-40 after Simmonds put through a 3-pointer with 5:16 to go. Willamette reduced the margin below the 10-point mark with 4:02 remaining, when Alex Hanson (Jr., G, Reno, NV/Galena HS) hit a jumper, was fouled and made the free throw.

After the next minute passed without either team scoring, WU reduced the lead again on a 3-point basket by Joseph Jackson (So., G, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS). With 2:39 left, the Leopards held a 52-46 lead.

McNally sank 1 of 2 free throws at the 1:44 mark to reduce the Bearcats' deficit to five points. La Verne extended the lead to 54-47 on a layup by Wolpe late in the shot clock with 1:14 to go.

The teams exchanged the next two baskets, with Manu scoring on a jumper for WU and Vince Bauer answering with a jumper for the Leopards. The Bearcats trailed 56-49 with 51 seconds remaining.

Willamette committed a turnover with 27 seconds on the clock. McNally quickly fouled Alonzo Young, who missed a 1-and-1 free throw two seconds later. Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State Univ.) connected on a 3-pointer for the Bearcats with 17 seconds left to pull WU within 56-52.

The Leopards lost the ball a few seconds later on a steal by Bos. Willamette took two shots in the final 10 seconds but was unable to reduce the lead, as La Verne held on for the win.

It was the Bearcats who held the advantage early in the game. Dart scored the first basket and McNally added jumpers at 17:44 and 15:16 to give WU a 6-0 lead. After Weston Newell sank a 3-point shot for ULV, McNally struck again with a jumper for an 8-3 lead with 14:45 left in the first half.

La Verne used another trifecta by Newell and a jump shot by Jake Veith to tie the score at 8-8. It was the first of seven ties in the first half, as neither team led by more than three points in the final 14 minutes of the period. The Leopards held a 22-19 lead at the 4:15 mark, but Walters scored on a 3-pointer to tie the game with 3:56 left. The score remained 22-22 at halftime.

A 3-pointer by Simmonds started a 16-5 run for La Verne to open the second half, as the Leopards claimed a 38-27 lead. La Verne maintained the lead for the rest of the game, but had to withstand Willamette's final comeback effort in the closing minutes.

2012 Bon Appetit NWC Tipoff Classic

First Round Scores (Nov. 16)
At Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Ore.

University of La Verne 56, Willamette University 52
Lewis & Clark College 99, UC-Santa Cruz 68
At George Fox University, Newberg, Ore.

Hardin-Simmons University 73, Pacific University 66
George Fox University 63, Colorado College 58

Second Round Schedule (Nov. 17)
At Willamette University, Salem, Ore.

Lewis & Clark College vs. Colorado College, 5 p.m.
Willamette University vs. Hardin-Simmons University, 7 p.m.
At Pacific University, Forest Grove, Ore.

George Fox University vs. UC-Santa Cruz, 5 p.m.
Pacific University vs. University of La Verne, 7:30 p.m.


University of La Verne 56
Willamette University 52

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

Kyle McNally hit 4 of 5 field goals and scored 10 points for Willamette.

Kyle McNally hit 4 of 5 field goals and scored 10 points for Willamette.