Written by Mark Colachico, Athletics Communications Assistant
SALEM, Ore. -- In its final non-conference game of the 2018-19 season, Willamette University dropped a heart-breaker to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul (Minn.), 99-90, Friday afternoon inside Cone Field House.
With the loss, Willamette drops to 2-8 overall. Meanwhile, Northwestern-St. Paul improves to 6-5 on the season.
Trent Callan (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) registered a double-double with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with a career and team-high 11 rebounds. Jonathan Watts (Fr., G, San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS) and Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) also scored in double figures with 19 and 14 points, respectively. Jenkins nearly recorded a triple-double, as the senior forward added 10 rebounds and eight assists in addition to his 14 points.
"Sometimes you just gotta tip your hat to the other team," Willamette Head Coach Kip Ioane said. "Northwestern shot great on mid-range jumpers and in today's game that's a very unique weapon. Scoring 90 points usually is enough to win. Give them credit for being even better offensively than we were."
For the visiting Eagles, Caleb Hageman and Anderson Balize, Jr. each scored a team-high 28 points, with Hageman going 12-for-16 from the field, and Balize, Jr. hitting all 13 of his free throws. Brady Peterson added 15 points for UNW off the bench, while Tanner Youngberg chipped in with 13 points. On the boards, Youngberg pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with six a team-high six assists by Michael Moore.
Willamette would open the game on an 8-0 run led by a pair of three-pointers by Callan and Watts that were sandwiched around a lay-in by Jenkins, as Northwestern-St. Paul was forced to call an early timeout with 18:04 on the clock. Over the next eight minutes, the visiting Eagles would use a 21-13 run to tie the game at 21-all following a jumper by Peterson with 10:14 remaining in the first half. Willamette would push its lead to 11 points (35-24) on fast break three-pointer by Alec Barba (So., W, Dallas, OR/Central HS) with 3:48 on the clock. Over the final three-plus minutes, Northwestern-St. Paul would use an 11-2 run to pull within two points (37-35) at halftime.
Over the opening twenty minutes of play, Willamette combined to shoot 13-of-28 (46.4%) from the field to go along with a 7-of-14 (50.0%) performance from beyond the three-point line and 4-of-7 (57.1%) showing at the free throw line. Meanwhile, Northwestern-St. Paul was a combined 15-for-34 (44.1%) from the field, 2-of-7 (28.6%) from long distance, and 3-of-5 (60.0%) at the free throw line. The Bearcats were led by Callan with 11 points, while Hageman led the visiting Eagles with 15 points.
The opening minutes of the second half belonged to Northwestern-St. Paul, as the Eagles used a 14-6 run to pull ahead by six points at 49-43 following a Bazile, Jr. three-pointer with 15:38 left in the game. Willamette got as close as one point, 56-55, on a Callan free throw with 11:47 on the clock. UNW used a 25-15 run to increase its lead to 11 points, 81-70, on a Peterson lay-in with 5:36 remaining.
Over the next 90 seconds, Willamette went on an 11-2 run to pull within two points at 83-81 on a three-pointer by Justus Eaglesmith (So., G, Sparks NV/Spanish Springs HS) with just over four minutes on the clock. That was as close as the Bearcats would get, as Northwestern-St. Paul hit timely free throws down the stretch, going a perfect 12-for-12 to come away with the hard-fought nine-point victory.
In the second half, Willamette shot a scorching 66.7% (18-for-27) from the field as the Bearcats connected on 5-of-6 (83.3%) from beyond the three-point line and made 12-of-18 (66.7%) free throws. Northwestern-St. Paul was a combined 18-for-37 (48.6%) from the field, 4-of-9 (44.4%) from long distance, and 24-of-25 (96.0%) at the free throw line over the final twenty minutes of play.
As a team, Willamette combined to shoot 31-for-55 (56.4%) from the field, 12-of-20 (60.0%) from beyond the three-point line, and 16-for-25 (64.0%) at the free throw line. On the other hand, Northwestern-St. Paul was a combined 33-for-71 (46.5%) from the field, 6-of-16 (37.5%) from long distance, and 27-for-30 (90.0%) at the charity stripe.
Willamette will return to action on Friday, Jan. 4, when the Bearcats open Northwest Conference play against the Wildcats of Linfield College beginning at 8:00 p.m. (PST) inside Cone Field House. Meanwhile, Northwestern-St. Paul will continue its West Coast road trip tomorrow - Saturday, Dec. 29 - against NWC member Pacific University beginning at 3:00 p.m. in Forest Grove.
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Trent Callan led an 11-2 run by the Bearcats to pull within 83-81. After
WU trailed 81-70 with 5:36 left in the game, Callan opened the run with a
pair of layups. After UNW added two points and Jordan Jenkins scored for
Willamette, Callan blocked a shot by Michael Moore with 4:43 to go. Callan
grabbed the rebound, was fouled by Moore, and hit both free throws to reduce
the margin to 83-78. Justus Eaglesmith completed run with a 3-point basket
at the 4:06 mark