Willamette Battles Whitman, but Missionaries Defeat Bearcats, 82-68

Duckworth Scores 25 for Whitman; Luedtke Earns his First Double-Double for WU

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University battled with the high-scoring Whitman College men's basketball team on Friday, Feb. 15 at Cone Field House, but the Missionaries hit 24 of 37 free throws and placed four players in double figures to defeat the Bearcats, 82-68. Josh Duckworth provided the Missionaries with 25 points, while hitting 9 of 14 field goals.

Whitman entered the night with an average of 91.3 points per contest. The Missionaries improved to 17-7 overall and to 11-4 in the Northwest Conference to remain in second place. Willamette, which has lost its last seven games, fell to 7-17 overall, 4-11 in the NWC.

Despite the difference in win-loss records, the game featured plenty of quality play by both teams. Each time the Bearcats threatened to rally, the Missionaries held off the comeback.

Terrell Malley (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) scored 15 points for the Bearcats to go with three assists and three steals. Brandon Luedtke (Fr., Post, Meridian, ID/Mt. View HS) scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, as he earned his first double-double as a Bearcat.

Sean Dart (Sr., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) added eight points for WU, while Kyle McNally (So., Post, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) provided six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

Overall, Willamette blocked seven of Whitman's shots during the game. Noah Ripley (Jr., Post, Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) matched McNally with three blocks, and Luedtke recorded one block.

Duckworth was joined in double figures by teammates Matt Mounier, Ryan Gilkey and Drew Raher. Mounier finished with 15 points, five boards, three assists and two steals. Gilkey scored 12 points, while Raher achieved 11 points and six boards.

The score was tied three times in the first four minutes. Whitman broke the third tie with a 5-0 run for a 13-8 lead. The Missionaries held a 16-12 edge, before an 8-2 run increased the margin to 24-14 with 9:19 on the clock. All eight points in the run were scored by Mounier, including two 3-pointers.

Each team added a free throw, and then Willamette stormed back, using an 11-2 surge to pull within 27-26 at the 4:38 mark. Ripley began the run with a jumper. Later, Oliver Hughes (Sr., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) cut the lead to 27-24 with a 3-pointer. Trevor Bos (Sr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) completed the run with a jump shot.

Whitman answered with six consecutive points for a 33-26 advantage with 1:32 left in the half. The Missionaries, who received 12 points from Duckworth and 11 points from Mounier in the first half, owned a 37-29 lead at the break.

Dart scored on a jump shot for the Bearcats to open the second half, starting a 10-5 run by Willamette. Later, Dart put in a layup to complete the run with 17:02 to go, pulling the Bearcats within three points, 42-39.

The Missionaries tallied eight of the next 10 points to claim a 50-41 lead with 14:50 on the clock. Ben Eisenhart provided seven of the eight points. Eisenhart, who entered the game averaging 17.0 points per contest, battled foul trouble and finished with nine points in 14 minutes.

WU reduced the lead to 52-47 following a pair of free throws by Malley with 13:50 remaining. Whitman responded with a 5-0 run for a 59-47 margin with 11:07 left.

The Bearcats trailed by eight points four times the rest of the way, but couldn't get closer. WU cut the lead to 63-55 on a layup by Malley at the 8:27 mark, and moved within 76-68 on a 3-pointer by Elliot Babcock-Krenk (Sr., Wing, Lake Oswego, OR/Lake Oswego HS/Humboldt State Univ.) with 2:07 to go.

After Babcock-Krenk's 3-point shot, the Missionaries hit six of eight free throws over the next 43 seconds, to record the final points of the game.

Willamette shot 43.1% on field goals (25 of 58), while Whitman made 40.9% of its shots (27 of 66). It was the third lowest shooting percentage of the season for the Missionaries.

Both teams struggled from behind the 3-point line, as Whitman went 4 for 22 (18.2%) and Willamette finished 3 for 14 (21.4%). The Bearcats sank 15 of 22 free throws (68.2%) but couldn't offset the Missionaries' 24-of-37 effort. The game included 53 fouls, with 28 on the Bearcats and 25 on Whitman.

The Missionaries gained a 42-39 rebounding edge and held a 25-12 margin in points off turnovers. Led by Luedtke's 13 points, WU gained a 24-20 advantage in scoring off the bench.

Willamette will conclude the season on Saturday, Feb. 16 against 12th ranked (D3hoops.com) Whitworth University. Game time at Cone Field House is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Whitman College 82
Willamette University 68

Freshman Brandon Luedtke scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards for his first double-double as a Bearcat.

Freshman Brandon Luedtke scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards for his first double-double as a Bearcat.