By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University limited Lewis & Clark College to 24.6% shooting, while Jordan Jenkins (Jr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) and Nico Troplent (Sr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) led the Bearcats on offense, in a 64-47 win over the Pioneers, in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams on Friday, Dec. 1. The win at Cone Field House boosted the Bearcats to 3-1 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC. The Pioneers dropped to 1-4 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.
Jenkins scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, hauled down nine rebounds and provided the Bearcats with five assists. Troplent achieved a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He was one of four Willamette players with one blocked shot. Trent Callan (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) tacked on nine points, seven boards and three assists. Brendon McCullough (Sr., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) also scored nine points. Willamette outrebounded the Pioneers, 44-32, including 25-15 in the second half. WU shot 50.0% in each half, and ended the game 26 of 52 from the field and 6 of 13 (46.2%) from 3-point range.
L&C was paced by Andrew Vickers, who finished with 15 points. He scored 12 of his points in the first half. Nico Bricker produced 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Pioneers. Daelon Floyd earned five points and six rebounds. Zeke Crawford also grabbed six boards. The Pioneers hit just 16 of 65 shots and went 7 for 33 (21.2%) from behind the 3-point arc.
The Bearcats opened the game with a 14-0 run and played solid defense for much of the game. WU's initial scoring surge featured four points each from Jenkins, McCullough and CJ Walker (Jr., P, Placentia, CA/Mayfair HS), plus one basket by Troplent. A bit later, Willamette led 20-12 after a 3-pointer by Troplent with 11:23 left in the half. Although the Bearcats didn't score again until Troplent added a layup at the 4:29 mark, the Bearcats still held a 22-16 advantage. L&C scored only four points during Willamette offensive slump The Bearcats recovered to take a 31-23 lead into the halftime break.
Troplent scored 11 points for WU in the first half, while Jenkins provided eight points and Walker added six points on 3-for-3 shooting. Vickers topped the Pioneers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
Vickers added his final points of the game on a 3-point basket just 24 seconds into the second half. Willamettte countered with a 3-pointer from Jenkins and a 3-pointer by McCullough to claim a 37-26 advantage at the 18:29 mark. Three-pointers by Bricker and Kyle Owens sandwiched a layup by Jenkins, as L&C pulled within 39-32 with 16:10 left.
The next nine points went to the Bearcats on a layup by McCullough and a 3-pointer by Troplent, plus layups from Jenkins and Callan. Willamette led 48-32 with 13:20 remaining. The Pioneers cut the margin to 48-37 on a traditional three-point play by Floyd with 12:05 on the clock, but Jenkins responded just seconds later with a dunk at the other end of the court.
L&C pulled as close as 11 points one more time at 50-39 on a pair of free throws by Mak Hutson with 10:51 remaining, but Troplent hit a 3-pointer for the Bearcat as the clock reached 9:09 to start a 10-2 run. Willamette was in front 60-41 with 4:40 left.
Willamette outscored the Pioneers 34-18 in the paint, while Lewis & Clark earned a 13-5 edge in points off turnovers. The Bearcats' starting five shot 57.1% from the field (24 of 42) and made 6 of 9 shots from 3-point range. The starters also amassed 31 rebounds for Willamette compared to 19 rebounds for L&C's starting five.
Four games into his senior season, Troplent has scored 748 career points for an average of 9.6 points per game. He has played in 78 games with 68 starts. McCullough isn't far behind with 699 points and 9.3 points per game. He has competed in 75 games with 62 starts.
Willamette will seek to keep its three-game winning streak alive when the Bearcats host George Fox University on Saturday, Dec. 2. Tipoff at Cone Field House is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST). GFU enters the game with a 3-3 overall record, including 0-1 in the NWC, following a 94-78 loss at Linfield College on Friday.