By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Lewis & Clark College ended the game with a 13-7 run against Willamette University to overcome a one-point deficit with 4:47 left, as the Pioneers defeated the Bearcats, 62-57 at the Pamplin Sports Center on Saturday, Jan. 27. L&C, which did not play between a 100-92 double-overtime loss at Pacific University on Tuesday, advanced its record to 7-12 overall, 3-12 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette, which defeated George Fox University 89-80 on Friday, moved to 9-10 overall, 4-6 in the NWC.
Jordan Jenkins (Jr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) achieved a double-double for the Bearcats. He scored 16 points and hauled down a career-high 15 rebounds. Nico Troplent (Sr., W, Guadaloupe, France/Cathedral HS), who reached the 900-point mark in career scoring on Friday, contributed 11 points on Saturday. He has scored 911 points in his Willamette career. Also reaching double figures for WU was Trent Callan (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) with 10 points. Willamette committed 20 turnovers compared to seven turnovers for L&C.
"This was a hard-fought, grind-it-out battle and you tip your cap to L&C for finding a way to win," Willamette Head Coach Kip Ioane noted. "I always love how hard we fight, but we can't have 20 turnovers in a game and expect to win."
Nico Bricker led Lewis & Clark with 14 points. Kyle Owens finished with 13 points, including a game-high three 3-pointers, while Andrew Vickers scored 11 points. Zeke Crawford earned just six points, but grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.
The first half was played mostly at a slow pace. Willamette held a 10-8 lead with 10 minutes left in the half, and the game was tied 14-14 at the 6:36 mark following a driving layup by Nathan Sherfey (Sr., F, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS) of Willamette. Lewis & Clark's Bricker scored the next seven points on a free throw, a two-foot jumper and a 3-pointer just to the right of the top of the key. With 4:42 remaining, the Pioneers were in front, 20-14.
Willamette starters Jenkins and Troplent each received two fouls early in the game, but returned to play late in the half. After returning, Jenkins forced L&C to commit two fouls while he was shooting. Jenkins converted all four free throws in his two trips to the line to tie the score at 22-22 with 1:54 left.
A layup by Daelon Floyd gave L&C a 24-22 edge, but Casey Thornton (Sr., W, Santa, Rosa, CA/Maria Carillo HS) pushed the Bearcats into a 25-24 lead with a 3-point basket as the clock reached 1:14. Owens scored on a driving layup for the Pioneers with 40 seoncds to go to provide L&C with a 26-25 halftime lead.
Owens of L&C topped all players at halftime with 10 points. Jenkins scored eight points for Willamette in the first half despite playing only eight minutes.
The teams were tied at 28-28 early in the second half after Troplent put through an 8-foot jumper in the lane. Lewis & Clark tallied the next seven points for a 35-28 advantage on a pair of layups by Vickers and a 3-pointer by Owens with 17:21 remaining.
Willamette cut the margin to 37-35 a bit later when Ben Sutton (Fr., F, Seattle, WA/Ingraham HS) scored on a jumper in the key with 14:00 to go. The Bearcats moved within 41-40 on a 3-pointer by Conin Oishi (Sr., G, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) with 10:08 left.
L&C earned the next four points on baskets by Floyd and Vickers, but the Bearcats answered with a 6-0 run to take a 46-45 lead. The run included a traditional three-point play by Callan to tie the score. Callan hit 1 of 2 free throws to complete the run and give WU the lead with 6:14 left.
The teams traded the next few baskets. Willamette owned a 50-49 advantage following a dunk by Jenkins with 4:47 to go. Neither team scored over the next two minutes until Lewis & Clark took the lead at 52-50 on a 3-pointer by Bricker at the 2:47 mark. The lead increased to 54-50 on a layup by Vickers. The Pioneers were in front 57-51 after Mak Hutson sank a 3-pointer with 1:18 on the clock.
WU got as close as 60-57 on a 3-pointer by Callan with 10.9 seconds left, but Hutson went 2 for 2 at the free throw line just over a second later to clinch the win for the Pioneers.
The Bearcats shot 41.3% for the game (19 of 46), while connecting on 4 of 18 three-pointers (22.2%). Lewis & Clark made 40.3% of its field goals (25 of 62), including 6 of 22 from 3-point range (27.3%). WU sank 15 of 22 free throws (68.2%), while the Pioneers went 6 for 13 at the line (46.2%).
Willamette accumulated 15 of its 20 turnovers in the first half, while L&C lost the ball just four times in the first 20 minutes. Over the course of the game, Willamette outrebounded the Pioneers, 38-28.
The Bearcats will play their third game in five days when they host Linfield College at Cone Field House on Tuesday, Jan. 30. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. (PST).