George Fox Holds Off Late Rally by Willamette to Defeat Bearcats, 80-74

Babcock-Krenk Leads WU with 15 Points

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Sean Atkins of George Fox University earned 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bruins shot 51.7% from the field in the second half (15 of 29), as GFU defeated visiting Willamette University, 80-74, in Northwest Conference action Friday, Feb. 1.

George Fox upped its record to 12-8 on the season, 7-4 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 7-12 overall, 4-6 in the NWC.

The Bearcats trailed GFU by only six points with 10:50 left in the game, but the Bruins gradually increased their advantage to 71-50, before fending off a WU rally in the closing minutes.

Four other GFU players joined Atkins in double figures. Josh Garlington scored 13 points, Anthony Sanchez and A.J. Grant supplied 12 points apiece, and Spencer Bolte finished with 10 points.

Willamette was led in scoring by Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State Univ.), who contributed 15 points.

Terrell Malley (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) and Oliver Hughes (Sr., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) each tallied 14 points for WU. Sean Dart (Sr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) earned 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

The Bruins took a 7-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. The Bearcats matched that run to tie the score at 9-9 with 14:28 left in the half.

Dart completed Willamette's run with a traditional three-point play. He scored on a driving layup after a pass from Trevor Bos (Sr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS), was fouled on the play and converted the free throw.

The remainder of the half was a close battle between the two teams.

GFU held a 15-11 lead following a pull-up jumper by Sanchez at the 12:18 mark. Willamette answered with an 8-2 run to take a 19-17 advantage.

A basket by Malley started the Willamette run. It ended with 3-pointers by Hughes at 8:36 and Babcock-Krenk at 8:01.

Later, WU held a 26-24 lead after Malley made a driving layup on the baseline with 3:32 on the clock. The Bruins countered with a 7-0 run, including five points by Seth Brent, to move in front, 31-26.

Malley scored following his own rebound with 2:09 left, but 22 seconds later Grant made a 3-pointer for GFU. Babcock-Krenk recorded a driving layup for WU at the 0:48 mark to end the half. GFU held a 34-30 lead at the break.

A short 5-0 run early in the second half allowed George Fox to extend its lead to seven points at 41-34. All five points in the run were scored by Atkins. The Bruins eventually took a 50-40 lead on a jumper by Sanchez as the shot clock reached two seconds with 13:02 remaining.

Willamette cut the margin to six points, 52-46, when Dart put in a layup with 10:50 left in the game. The Bruins responded with a 10-3 run, moving the lead to 62-49 with 8:01 on the clock. GFU led 71-50 with 4:31 left.

The Bearcats fought back, but ran out of time.

Kyle McNally (So., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) scored the next basket for the Bearcats with 4:03 to go. A bit over a minute passed without either team scoring. GFU was assessed a technical foul for having six players on the court at the 2:57 mark. Malley sank both free throws.

WU kept the ball due to the technical, and Alex Brown (So., Wing/Post, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) scored six seconds later. Willamette cut the lead to 71-58 when Malley hit two free throws with 2:18 remaining.

The lead was reduced to single digits, 73-65, when Hughes connected on a free throw with 48.6 seconds on the clock. It was the first of three 3-point baskets by Hughes in the final minute. His third trifecta cut the lead to 77-71 with 17.1 seconds left.

Garlington of George Fox added one free throw a few seconds later and Bolte sank two free throws for GFU with 6.6 seconds left. Babcock-Krenk registered WU's fourth 3-pointer in the last minute with 1.9 seconds to go.

George Fox hit 28 of 65 field goals (43.1%), but made only 13 of 36 shots in the first half (36.1%). The Bruins converted 7 of 22 three-pointers and made 17 of 25 free throws (68.0%). GFU achieved a 46-39 rebounding margin.

Willamette shot 41.8% for the game (28 of 67), and finished 8 of 22 on 3-pointers (36.4%). WU sank 10 of 17 free throws (58.8%).

The Bearcats will return to Salem, Ore., to host the University of Puget Sound on Saturday (Feb. 2). Game time at Cone Field House is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

George Fox University 80
Willamette University 74

Oliver Hughes sank three 3-point shots for Willamette in the final minute.

Oliver Hughes sank three 3-point shots for Willamette in the final minute.