Bearcats Hit 13 of 23 Three-Pointers
SALEM, ORE. -- Junior wing Ryan Meehan (Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) scored 24 points and Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) contributed 23 points, leading Willamette University to a 92-66 victory over Northwest Conference rival Linfield College on Saturday, Jan. 8. WU advance to 4-9 overall, 1-3 in the NWC, while Linfield dropped to 5-8, 1-3 in the NWC.
Willamette shot 50.0% from the field (31 of 62), including 69.2% (18 of 26) in the second half. WU connected on 13 of 23 three-pointers during the game (56.5%). It was the Bearcats' first home game since an 86-84 non-conference win over Concordia University (Ore.) on Dec. 10.
Meehan and Malley helped lead the 3-point attack. Meehan was 5 of 7 from behind the arc, while Malley went 4 for 4 on trifectas. Malley finished the game 8 for 10 from the floor, while Meehan was 9 of 17.
Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) tied his career-high with 11 assists for the Bearcats. Kunke also grabbed five rebounds. Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) tallied 12 points and earned four boards for WU.
Linfield limited Willamette's Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) to just nine points on 3 of 10 shooting. Dart entered the weekend ranked #1 in NCAA Division III in field goal shooting percentage at 72.6%. Although Dart failed to reach double digits in scoring for only the second time this season, he still provided the Bearcats with a game-high 13 rebounds to go with two blocked shots.
K.C. Wiser, Linfield's starter at the post, led the Wildcats with 22 points and hit 8 of 14 field goals. Zach Anderson supplied Linfield with 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Teagan Dooley also hauled down seven boards and recorded four assists.
The score was close for most of the first half, as the opening 20 minutes featured five ties and eight lead changes. Willamette's 16-11 advantage following a pair of free throws by Taylor Mounts at the 11:14 mark was the largest lead in the first 15 minutes.
Willamette and Linfield were tied at 25-25 with 5:10 left in the half.
The Bearcats gained some separation by scoring 12 unanswered points, including five points by Mounts. Oliver Hughes (So., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) completed the run with a 3-pointer, giving WU a 37-25 lead with 2:46 on the clock.
At halftime, the Bearcats owned a 41-30 advantage. Mounts had 12 points at the break, while Dart had eight rebounds.
WU tallied the first 12 points of the second half. Meehan opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and then added a layup at the 18:59 mark. Dart hit one of two free throws, Malley added a 3-pointer. Dart finished the string of points with two foul shots with 15:49 to go.
Linfield trailed 57-42 with 12:40 remaining, but the Wildcats cut the lead to seven points with a 10-2 rally. A 3-pointer by Wiser started the run and another trifecta by Wiser completed the run at the 10:12 mark.
The lead for Willamette was still under 10 points at 69-60 with 6:22 left, but Willamette scored the next eight points to take charge of the game.
Linfield shot 41.5% on the night (22 of 53) and converted 9 of 23 three-point attempts (39.1%). The Wildcats were 13 of 23 at the free throw line.
Willamette forced Linfield into 23 turnovers, while the Bearcats lost the ball just 10 times. WU achieved 10 steals, led by Meehan with three.
The Bearcats will continue their three-game homestand on Friday, Jan. 14 against Whitman College. Tipoff at Cone Field House is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).
Linfield College 66