McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) scored on a 3-point shot from the top of the key with 1.4 seconds remaining to send Willamette University to a 90-88 Northwest Conference victory over Linfield College on Friday, Feb. 5 at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The winning shot by Mounts hit the back of the rim, soared above the backboard, and then dropped perfectly through the basket, barely hitting the net on its way back to the floor.
It looked as though Linfield would win after Cory Hendryx sank a 3-pointer for the Wildcats with 10.9 seconds on the clock, as LC took an 88-87 lead. After the basket, WU's Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) caught the in-bounds pass, went down the court and earned an assist on the winning play.
The stunning shot by Mounts completed a Willamette rally that overcame a 64-55 deficit with 15:47 left. Willamette tied the game, 78-78, on a basket by Mounts at the 6:21 mark. Neither team scored over the next minute and a half until Mounts gave WU its first lead of the second period on a 3-pointer with 4:51 remaining.
Willamette later held leads of 84-80 and 85-82, before Linfield tied the game at 85-85 on a 3-point shot by Daniel Teater with 55.8 seconds to go. Kunke moved Willamette back in front, 87-85, with a driving layup as the clock reached 29.9 seconds.
The Bearcats shot a sizzling 65.2% in the second half, hitting 15 of 23 field goals, including 5 of 7 three-pointers. For the game, WU was 32 of 58 from the field (55.2%) and 10 of 19 (52.6%) behind the arc. Willamette sank 16 of 27 free throws (59.3%)
Linfield made more than 50 percent of its field goals in both halves to finish at 54.5% on 36 of 66 shooting. The Wildcats netted 10 off 22 trifectas and made 6 of 10 freer throws.
Mounts was Willamette's leading scorer with 27 points, while Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) contributed 16 points and three assists. Mounts and Meehan finished with five rebounds apiece.
Kunke achieved 11 points and three assists. He has 492 career assists and needs just 10 more to reach the WU record. Trevor Bos (Fr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) recorded 10 points for the Bearcats, as he connected on 4 of 6 field goals, including 2 of 4 three-pointers.
For Linfield, K.C. Wiser led the way with 22 points. Sergio Rosario chipped in 19 points and seven boards for the Wildcats. Hendryx collected 14 points, including three 3-point baskets, while Zach Anderson supplied 11 points, five boards and three assists. Linfield gained a 40-24 rebounding edge, with Zach Meikle hauling down nine boards, and Wiser grabbing eight.
In the first half, WU surged out to a 9-2 lead, including five points by Kunke. Linfield responded with a 9-2 run of its won, leaving the teams tied, 11-11, with 16:29 on the clock. Willamette moved in front, 14-11, on a 3-pointer by Avery Manu (Fr., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS), but fell behind 22-16. The Bearcats scored the next six points to even the score with 11:23 remaining in the period.
The score was tied a total of seven times in the first half, with the final tie, 32-32, following two free throws by Oliver Hughes (So., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) of WU with 9:16 to go. Linfield tallied the next basket on a jumper by Daniel Teater and stayed in front the rest of the half. The Wildcats owned a 55-48 advantage at the break.
With the win, Willamette improved to 5-15 overall, 2-9 in the NWC. The Bearcats defeated Linfield, 92-66, in Salem, Ore., on Jan. 8 for their first NWC win of the season. Linfield fell to 8-13 overall, 4-8 in the conference.
The Bearcats will return home to take on Pacific University on Saturday, Feb. 5. Tipoff at Cone Field House is set for 8 p.m. (PST).
Linfield College 88