Puget Sound Holds Off Late Offensive Surge by Willamette, 69-65

Puget Sound Holds Off Late Offensive Surge by Willamette, 69-65

Malley Tallies 20 Points, Kunke Grabs 12 Rebounds, for Bearcats

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The University of Puget Sound held off a late surge by Willamette University to claim a 69-65 victory in Northwest Conference men's basketball action on Saturday, Jan. 29 at Cone Field House. The Loggers improved to 8-11, 5-5 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 4-15, 1-9 in the NWC.

UPS committed 32 turnovers, compared to 17 by the Bearcats. Willamette was unable to take advantage of the turnover margin because the Bearcats shot just 32.4% for the game, finally climbing above the 30% mark with their final rally.

Kaleb Shelton led Puget Sound with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Edric Egberuare added 13 points and 10 boards.

Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) topped Willamette with 20 points. Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) tacked on 18.

Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) provided WU with a career-high 12 rebounds to go with seven assists and two steals. Kunke increased his career assist total to 489, just 13 short of the WU record of 502, set by Rob Cantonwine from 1979-82.

Willamette was behind by as many as 17 points in the second half and trailed 59-44 after Egberuare sank 1 of 2 free throws for UPS with 5:14 remaining. The Bearcats registered 21 points the rest of the way, while holding the Loggers to just 10 points.

The Bearcats quickly reduced the lead 59-49, as Malley hit a 3-pointer at the 5:04 mark, then added two free throws with 4:47 left. Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) made it a 7-0 run when he tacked on a jump shot with 3:31 on the clock.

Malcom Colbert of Puget Sound tallied the next basket to give the Loggers a 61-51 edge with 2:59 to go. UPS also owned a 64-43 margin with 2:40 left, following a 3-pointer by Ryan Rogers.

A layup by Meehan, plus a layup by Malley with 1:27 remaining, cut the deficit to 64-57. Egberuare committed a turnover for UPS on the ensuing possession, but Malley missed a 3-pointer for WU at the 1:08 mark.

Egberuare tacked on two free throws for the Loggers, giving UPS a 66-57 advantage with 52 seconds on the clock. WU reduced the lead to six points on a 3-pointer by Mounts, before Rogers sank 1 of 2 charity shots for Puget Sound with 29 seconds left.

Trevor Bos (Fr., G, Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS) connected on a 3-pointer three seconds later, as the Bearcats pulled within four points, 67-63. Colbert secured the win for UPS by hitting two free throws at the 23-second mark. A layup by Mounts completed the scoring, although Malley had a chance to cut the margin to a single point when he missed on a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining.

WU led 11-5 early in the game, but shot just 25.0% (9 of 36) during the first half. The Bearcats forced UPS into 16 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, but the Loggers outrebounded the Bearcats 28-18 and hit 9 of 16 free throws to take a 32-22 halftime lead. In the first half, Puget Sound connected on 37% of its field goals (10 of 27). Shelton and Egberuare tallied eight points apiece for UPS prior to the intermission.

Puget Sound went on a 9-5 run at the start of the second half to claim a 41-27 advantage. Anthony Gittens earned the first four points and Egberuare registered the final five points during the run. The Loggers led by double digits until Willamette's comeback in the closing minutes.

UPS ended the night with a 52-38 rebounding edge. The Loggers shot 39.3% for the game (22 of 56) and made 20 of 32 free throws (62.5%). Willamette had 15 more shots than the Loggers, but hit just 23 of 71 field goals, including 7 of 29 three-pointers (24.1%). WU was 12 of 24 at the line.

The Bearcats will return to action on Friday, Feb. 4 at Linfield College in another NWC contest. Game time in McMinnville, Ore., is set for 8 p.m. (PST).

University of Puget Sound 69
Willamette University 65

Terrell Malley put in 20 points for the Bearcats, including 15 in the second half.