Dart Scores 21 Points, Grabs 9 Boards for Bearcats
BELTON, TEXAS -- Texas Lutheran University edged Willamette University, 96-95 in overtime, on Wednesday, Dec. 29 in the first round of the Cru Holiday Basketball Classic at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. WU had a chance to win the game on the final shot of overtime, but Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) was pressured while shooting a jumper near the free throw line and was unable to connect on the game-winning attempt.
The Bulldogs tied the game 86-86 at the end of regulation on a jump shot by Jarell English with four seconds left.
Willamette held an 85-79 advantage after Meehan sank 1 of 2 free throws with 23 seconds remaining in the second half, but English made two free throws for Texas Lutheran with 19 seconds to go. After WU missed two free throws, TLU got the ball back and Michael Flores hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to pull the Bulldogs within 85-84.
Marcus Holmes (Sr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) made the second of two free throws with nine seconds on the clock to give WU a two-point lead.
English tied the score with his jumper five seconds later. The game moved to overtime after Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) missed a shot for Willamette at the buzzer.
Texas Lutheran held a 96-93 lead late in the overtime period following two free throws by Malcolm Dotson with 34 seconds remaining.
The Bearcats turned the ball over on their next possession and fouled Matthew Agonis of TLU with 15 seconds left. Agonis missed the first free throw. He hit the second charity shot, but it didn't count, as Texas Lutheran was called for a technical foul.
Meehan sank both free throws resulting from the technical, pulling Willamette within 96-95. Agonis then re-tried the second free throw from the original foul. He missed, giving WU the last possession.
Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) led Willamette with 21 points on 9 of 10 field goals. He also grabbed 9 rebounds. Dart fouled out after being called for his final three fouls with 2:50, 2:07 and 1:29 remaining in regulation.
Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) added 16 points for the Bearcats. He connected on 5 of 10 field goals and earned five rebounds.
Meehan and Holmes each contributed 15 points for the Bearcats. Mounts provided nine points and a team-high 11 boards.
Texas Lutheran was led by Michael Flores with 28 points. He was 10 of 17 on field goals, including 6 of 8 on three-pointers. Isaac Williams scored 19 points and hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds. English scored 16 points and went 10 for 10 at the free throw line.
WU scored the game's first 10 points, but Texas Lutheran rallied for a 14-13 lead on a layup by Ryan Schreier with 15:05 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs extended the lead to 31-22 after a 3-pointer by Flores just before the clock dipped below the 10-minute mark.
Less than three minutes later, TLU owned a 35-26 advantage, but the Bearcats answered by scoring eight consecutive points at the start of a 23-11 run. Willamette was in front 49-46 at the break.
The Bearcats held the lead throughout the second half, despite Texas Lutheran battling back each time Willamette gained a bit of separation.
WU held a 70-62 lead at the 8:47 mark, after Malley hit a 3-pointer assisted by Trevor Bos (Fr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS). Dart gave WU a 77-67 margin when he scored on a layup and added a foul shot with 5:14 to go. Willamette owned a 80-71 lead with 2:35 left.
Texas Lutheran shot 77.1% on free throws during the game, including 14 of 17 (82.4%) in the second half. The Bulldogs were led by English's 10-for-10 free throw performance, including 8 for 8 in the final 4:31 of regulation.
The Bearcats shot 41.7% from the field (30 of 72) during the game, including 8 of 29 (27.6%) from 3-point range. WU hit 27 of 41 free throws (65.9%). TLU converted 41.1% of its field goals (30 of 72). The Bulldogs connected on 9 of 18 three-pointers.
Willamette is now 3-7 on the season, while Texas Lutheran moved to 3-4 overall. The Bearcats will take on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second round on Thursday, Dec. 30 at 5:30 p.m. (PST)/7:30 p.m. (CST).
Texas Lutheran University 96
Willamette University 95 (OT)