Whitehurst Hits 35 for GFU, Mounts Tallies 31 for Willamette
NEWBERG, ORE. -- George Fox University outscored Willamette University 28-13 in the final 8:39 to pull away from the Bearcats for a 117-100 victory in Northwest Conference play on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at the Wheeler Sports Center. GFU moved to 5-13 on the season, 3-6 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 4-14, 1-8 in the NWC.
Cole Whitehurst of George Fox led all scorers with 35 points, including 23 in the first half. Whitehurst was 13 of 17 from the field and 8 of 11 at the charity stripe.
The Bruins also received a triple-double from junior wing Mike Taylor, who scored 18 points, hauled down 15 rebounds and provided 11 assists. It was the first triple-double for GFU in 19 years.
Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) topped Willamette with 31 points for his third consecutive game with at least 29 and his fifth game in a row with at least 20. He also registered a team-high seven rebounds.
The Bruins kept gaining an advantage on the scoreboard and the Bearcats kept battling back.
In the first half.George Fox built a 24-15 lead in the first seven minutes, with Whitehurst leading the way with 10 points. WU pulled within 27-26 on a jumper by Alex Hanson (Fr., G, Reno, NV/Galena HS) at the 10:25 mark. The Bearcats eventually tied the score, 40-40, on a 3-pointer by Meehan with 4:27 left.
GFU recorded the next six points to start a 15-7 run to end the half. WU trailed 55-47 at the break.
In the second half, Willamette scored the first eight points to force a 55-55 tie. Malley tallied six points during the run.
GFU surged back out to a 62-55 lead, only to have WU gradually recovery to tie the game at 70-70 on a 3-pointer by Mounts with 14:50 left. The Bruins scored six of the next eight points to claim a 76-72 advantage, before WU rallied with a an 8-2 run to take an 80-78 lead with 12:17 remaining on a 10-foot jumper by Trevor Bos (Fr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS).
Willamette also lead 83-82, before the Bruins earned five consecutive point to move back in front. GFU held a slim 87-86 advantage at the 9:58 mark and was ahead by just two points, 89-87, with 8:39 to go.
The Bruins then closed the game with the decisive run. The run began with a 16-2 offensive surge that gave GFU a commanding 105-89 margin with about five minutes left.
For GFU, Rich Smith scored 28 points and Stephen Wiseley added 20 in addition to the scoring output from Whitehurst and Taylor,. George Fox shot 69.4% for the game (43 of 62), including a stellar 23 of 31 (74.2%) in the first half. GFU also connected on 24 of 35 free throws (68.6%), while making 7 of 12 three-pointers.
Mounts was joined in double figures for Willamette by three teammates. Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) supplied 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. He was 8 of 15 from the field.
Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) tacked on 18 points and grabbed six boards. Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) achieved 12 points.
WU hit 13 of 26 three-pointers (50.0%) to stay in the game until GFU's closing run. The Bearcats shot 49.3% on field goals (37 of 75) and hit 13 of 19 free throws (68.4%). George Fox claimed a 35-32 rebounding edge.
The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 29 with a home game against the University of Puget Sound. Tipoff at Cone Field House is slated for 8 p.m. (PST).
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