Kunke Sets Bearcat Record with 506 Assists in his Career
WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- Whitman College scored 17 of the first 19 points and shot 70.4% in the first half, as the Missionaries built a 29-point halftime lead on their way to a 119-77 win over Willamette University on Saturday, Feb. 12. Whitman upped its record to 17-6, 10-4 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette moved to 6-17 overall, 3-11 in the NWC.
Whitman has won 15 of its last 17 games, including seven consecutive wins in NWC action.
Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) set the Willamette career assists record during the game. He provided five assists on the night, giving him 506 in his career. He broke the previous record of 502, set by Rob Cantonwine from 1979-82. Ironically, Cantonwine was the best friend of Kunke's father throughout junior high and high school.
Kunke tied the record with his first assist of the game on a 3-pointer by Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) with 14:45 left in the first half. Kunke broke the record when he assisted Meehan on a jump shot later in the half at the 7:47 mark.
The Bearcats missed eight of their first nine shots, while Whitman put in six of its first seven attempts, including three 3-pointers, to take a 17-2 lead with 15:31 on the clock. Meehan's 3-pointer created by Kunke's first assist, cut the lead to 17-5 and the Bearcats kept he margin between 12 and 17 points for the next eight minutes.
Whitman closed the half strong with a 22-10 run that extended the Missionaries' advantage to 62-33 at the break. Three Whitman players -- Justin Artis with 14 points, Ignas Pavilonis with 12 and Josh Duckworth with 10 -- all reached double-digit scoring in the first half, as the home squad hit 19 of 37 shots.
For the game, Whitman was successful on 63.3% of its field goals (38 of 60), including an impressive 17 of 29 on 3-pointers (58.6%). The Missionaries also sank 26 of 30 free throws (86.7%).
Willamette connected on 45.2% of its field goals (28 of 62), but couldn't keep pace with the hot-shooting Whitman squad. Willamette made 9 of 24 three-pointers (37.5%) and converted 12 of 15 free throws (80.0%).
Artis and Duckworth tied for game-high scoring honors with 23 points apiece. Whitman also receive 19 points from Brandon Shaw, while Pavilonis contributed 15 points. Overall, six Missionaries scored in double figures.
Meehan topped the Willamette scoring chart with 21 points. He also led the Bearcats with 4-for-8 shooting from behind the 3-point line. Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) produced 18 points for his 21st game in double-digits this season. It was Mounts' 13th game in a row with 12 or more points.
Kunke scored eight points to go with his five assists. Oliver Hughes (So., Wing, Salt Lake City, UT/Judge Memorial HS) also chipped in eight points for the Bearcats. Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) supplied a team-high five rebounds, plus five points and two assists.
The Missionaries earned a 35-24 rebounding margin and forced Willamette into 21 turnovers. Whitman had just 12 turnovers.
Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran University on Friday, Feb. 18 in Tacoma, Wash. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST).
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