By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore -- Brandon Luedtke (Sr., F, Meridian, ID/Mountain View HS) grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds to go along with 10 points and three steals to lead Willamette University to an 84-71 victory over George Fox University on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Cone Field House. Brendon McCullough (So., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) scored 16 points and had four assists for the Bearcats.
Mason Green-Richards topped George Fox with 22 points. Thomas Rico added 13 points.
Willamette upped its record to 5-11 overall, 2-5 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox fell to matching records of 5-11 on the season, 2-5 in the NWC.
Luedtke's previous career high of 18 boards was set at Whittier College (Calif.) on Dec. 29 in another 84-71 win. He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds six times this season and has scored 10 or more points 13 times. He has recorded six double-doubles.
In addition to Luedtke and McCullough, other double-digit scorers for Willamette against George Fox were Nico Troplent (So., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) and Bridger Harlington (Sr., W, Lake Tapps, WA/Auburn Riverside HS). Troplent supplied 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Harlington achieved 12 points and five rebounds.
There were six ties and eight lead changes in the first half, but Willamette held a 47-36 advantage at the intermission. In the second half, WU led by nine or more points the entire way.
GFU trailed 6-4 before going on a 7-0 run for its largest lead of the game at 11-6 with 14:39 remaning in the half. Chris Fedler completed the run with a 3-point basket. Willamette took a 17-14 advantage with 11:50 on the clock following a 3-pointer by Trent Callan (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS).
The teams were tied for the final time at 21-21 with 9:09 to go before hafltime.
George Fox scored next when Ryan Thistlewood hit 1 of 2 free throws, but there were still three more lead changes. A jumper by Luedtke gave WU the lead for good at 26-25. The basket started a 9-0 run by the Bearcats that ended with a 3-pointer by Nathan Sherfey (So., W, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS) for a 36-25 lead with 3:42 left.
Willamette tallied the first two baskets of the second half, as Harlington connected on a layup and a 3-pointer for a 52-36 advantage. George Fox briefly cut the lead to nine points at 60-51 following a jumper by Willie Perkins at the 12:22 mark. Willamette increased the margin with a 15-5 run to claim a 75-56 lead with 7:22 to go.
The Bearcats shot 53.8% (14 of 26) in the second half to finish the game at 49.2% overall (32 of 65). Willamette hit 9 of 19 three-pointers (47.4%). The Bruins shot 39.1% overall (27 of 69), while making 9 of 27 three-pointers. Both teams struggled at the free throw line, with Willamette sinking 11 of 23 attempts and GFU converting 8 of 18.
Willamette gained a sizable margin on the glass, as the Bearcats hauled down 54 rebounds, compared to 33 for the Bruins. WU committed 28 turnovers and GFU lost the ball 20 times. The Bearcats gained a 20-18 edge in points off turnovers and earned a 13-4 advantage in second-chance points.
The Bearcats received solid play off the bench. Trent Callan (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Matt Billingsley-Peeler (So., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) each scored eight points. Dylan Critchfield (So., P, Broomfield, CO/Standley Lake HS) produced six points. A total of 11 Bearcats scored.
On Saturday, Jan. 23, the Bearcats will return to acton with a Northwest Conference game at Lewis & Clark College. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).