By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Saint John's University (Minn.) went on a 10-0 run early in the second half, as the Johnnee's took the lead on their way to a 76-64 win over Willamette University, on Friday, Nov. 25, in the first round of the Rocky Mountain Thanksgiving Classic at Colorado College. Saint John's advanced its record to 3-1 on the season. Willamette fell to 1-3.
Jordan Jenkins (So., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) topped Willamette with 19 points and seven rebounds. He was 5 of 8 from the field and 8 of 10 on free throws. Nico Troplent (Jr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) scored 11 points for the Bearcats.
Tyler Weiss led the Johnnies with 15 points and tied for the team lead with six rebounds. David Stokman contributed 13 points, five boards and three assists. Jubie Alade tallied 11 points, while Garrett Goetz and Ben Hartmann each scored 10. Goetz and Hartmann tied Weiss with six rebounds apiece.
The teams were tied 26-26 at halftime. Each team scored a basket to start the second half, creating the fifth tie of the game.
Saint John's scored the next 10 points to take a 38-28 lead with 16:51 left. The run, which started with a layup by Stokman and a layup by Weiss, continued with another layup and a foul shot by Stokman with 17:23 to go. Patrick Strom completed the run with a 3-pointer.
The Johnnies kept the lead the rest of the way. Even so, Willamette got within 50-47 at the 10:59 mark on a 3-pointer by Conin Oishi (Jr., G, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS). WU also pulled within three points as the clock reached 9:25 on a layup by Nathan Sherfey (Jr., F, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS).
WU trailed by just five points, 67-62, after Jenkins sank two free throws with 3:16 left. The Johnnies closed the game with a 9-2 run, beginning with two free throws by Stokman with 3:04 on the clock and a layup by Alade with 2:28 left.
Seven seconds later, Jenkins reduced the lead to 71-64 with a pair of free throws for the Bearcats, but SJU scored the final five points.
At the start of the game, Willamette outscored Saint John's 9-4 in the first 3:55. Four players contributed to the early run.
Jenkins scored on a tip-in for a 2-2 tie. Troplent hit a 3-pointer, but the Johnnees cut the lead to 5-4. Casey Thornton (Jr., W, Santa Rosa, CA/Maria Carrillo HS) tacked on a jumper for the Bearcats and Dylan Critchfield (Jr., P, Broomfield, CO/Standley Lake HS) made a layup.
SJU eventually tied the Bearcats at 13-13 on a layup and a foul shot by Alade with 9:27 on the clock. Baskets by Critchfield and Hartmann led to another tie at 15-15.
A jumper by Troplent put WU in front, 17-15 at the 7:27 mark. The Bearcats kept the lead for nearly the remainder of the half, including a 24-19 advantage after Troplent was fouled on a defensive rebound and sank both free throws with 3:02 to go.
The Bearcats were in front 26-22 following a pair of free throws by Jenkins with 1:26 left, but the Johnnees recorded the final four points to tie the score at halftime.
Saint John's shot 65.4% (17 of 26) in the second half to finish at 48.3% for the game (28 of 58). The Johnnees converted just 1 of 11 three-point attempts, but sank 19 of 22 free throws (48.3%). WU shot 37.3% for the game (22 of 59), including 5 of 19 on 3-pointers (26.3%. The Bearcats connected on 15 of 20 free throws.
The Johnnees recorded a 37-33 rebounding margin. Each team committed 13 turnovers.
Willamette will take on Augsburg College (Minn.) in the second round of the Rocky Mountain Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday, Nov. 26. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CST/4 p.m. PST. Colorado College defeated Augsburg, 88-82 in overtime, in the other first round game.