By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- Willamette University shot 64.3% from the field (45 of 70) and hit 10 of 19 three-pointers, as the Bearcats outscored Pacific University, 113-98, in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game at the Stoller Center on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Six Bearcats reached double figures in scoring, led by Ryan Peterson (So, P, Edmonds, WA/Edmonds-Woodway HS), who scored 18 points in 16 minutes, while connecting on 9 of 10 field goals.
The Bearcats improved to 3-10 overall, including 1-4 in the NWC. Pacific dropped to 6-8 on the season, 0-5 in the NWC.
Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) added his eighth double-double of the season for Willamette with 17 points and 13 rebounds, giving him six double-doubles in a row. Alec Barba (So., W, Dallas, OR/Central HS) contributed 16 points and a trio of 3-point baskets, while Justus Eaglesmith (So., G, Sparks NV/Spanish Springs HS) topped the Bearcats with four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points. Trent Callan (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Jonathan Watts (Fr., G, San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS) each scored 12 points.
Meanwhile, the Bearcats held the Boxers to 39.8% shooting (33 of 83), including just 6 of 37 on 3-point shots (16.2%). Willamette also gained a 52-27 advantage on the boards. Each team shot 72.2% at the free throw line, but Pacific was 26 of 36, while the Bearcats went 13 of 18. The Boxers committed just nine turnovers and forced Willamette to lose the ball 28 times, but the home team couldn't overcome the Bearcats' big advantages in shooting and rebounding.
"We challenged our guys to make an impact in whatever role they have on our team," Willamette Head Coach Kip Ioane said. "From the scoring by Jordan Jenkins and Justus Eaglesmith, to a guy like Dylan Streett (Fr., G, Santa Barbara, CA/Bishop Diego HS) scoring six big points in the second half, or Ryan Peterson scoring and rebouding off the bench, they did their jobs tonight."
Pacific's leading scorer was Marcus Wallace, who recorded 21 points and made 8 of 16 field goals. Andy Isokpehl followed with 17 points, while Ethan Moss tacked on 16 points and Zak Hankins scored 10.
The 113 points were the most scored by Willamette since Feb. 23, 2008, when the Bearcats lost at University of Puget Sound, 127-121, in two overtimes. The last Willamette victory with as many points scored was a 119-108 regulation victory over Puget Sound at Cone Field House on Jan. 26, 2007. Prior to Tuesday, WU's most recent 100-point night was in a 103-74 win last season at home against Northwest Indian College on Dec. 10, 2017.
Pacific likes to play an up-tempo game, so both teams expected a high-scoring result on Tuesday. Each half of the game lived up to expectations, as Willamette held a 59-47 lead at halftime and then earned a 54-51 advantage in the second half.
Neither team led by more than four points until the Boxers took a 25-19 lead on a 3-pointer by Jared Cattell with 11:20 remaining in the opening half. A bit later, the teams were tied at 28-28 and again at 30-30, before Willamette scored seven consecutive points to start a 20-2 run. During the run, Jenkins scored on a dunk for a 39-32 lead with 6:46 left, and Eaglesmith hit a 3-pointer for a 42-32 advantage just 19 seconds later. The final basket in the run was a 3-pointer by Eaglesmith for a 50-32 margin with 4:16 on the clock.
Willamette owned a 59-39 lead following a layup by Peterson with 1:21 to go in the half. Pacific got back in the game by ending the period with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to eight points. Wallace started and ended the run with a layup.
Wallace added a jumper just seven seconds into the second half, as Pacific pulled within 59-49. The Bearcats responded with a 6-0 run for a 65-49 lead at the 18:19 mark. The Boxers got as close as 13 points several times over the next four minutes, ending with a 73-60 score following a pair of free throws by Davis Holly with 14:40 left.
A 7-0 offensive surge by the Bearcats gave Willamette an 80-60 advantage with 12:10 remaining. The run started with one layup each by Peterson and Dylan Streett (Fr., G, Santa Barbara, CA/Bishop Diego HS). On WU's next possession, Streett added a free throw to keep the run going, and Watts finished the run with a jumper. Pacific never pulled closer than 17 points again until the final minute of the game. Willamette's largest lead was 96-72 with 6:21 left.
The Bearcats will return to action on Friday, Jan. 11 with an NWC game at Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
When the Bearcats score 113 points, there are going to be a lot of players
who deserve the Moment of the Game. Tonight, it goes to Justus Eaglesmith
who made three 3-pointers during a 20-2 run in the first half. Partway through
the run, WU held a 7-point lead after a dunk by Jordan Jenkins. Then Eaglesmith
made the first 3-pointer. The Bearcats led 47-32 after the second trifecta and
50-32 after the third. Special mention to Jenkins, who followed up the dunk with
a defensive rebound and an assist on Eaglesmith's first 3-pointer.