Brown Scores 19 Points, but Linfield Downs Bearcats, 64-59, in McMinnville

Alex Brown (Sr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS)
Alex Brown (Sr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS)

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Kyle Maloof scored 17 points and Jordan Clark grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Linfield College to a 64-59 win over Willamette University in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Friday, Feb. 5 at Ted Wilson Gymnasium. Alex Brown (Sr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) provided Willamette with a game-high 19 points.

The Wildcats improved to 10-10 on the season, 4-7 in the NWC. Willamette slipped to 6-14 overall, 3-8 in the NWC.

Linfield took a 10-2 lead on the strength of four layups and a short inside shot by Austin Murray. The Bearcats fought back within 15-11 following an inside jumper by Brown with 12:12 on the clock. WU cut the lead to two points on a steal and layup by Brandon Luedtke (Sr., F, Meridian, ID/Mountain View HS) and tied the score at 15-15 when Brendon McCullough (So., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) sank two free throws with 9:35 left in the half.

The Bearcats moved in front 17-15 on a jumper by Nico Troplent (So., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) 20 seconds later. The basket completed an 11-0 run by Willamette.

A bit later, Linfield took a 20-19 lead when Riley Bruil sank three free throws afer being fouled on a 3-point shot. Willamette answered with a 3-pointer by McCullough and a traditional three-point play by Brown, as the Bearcats claimed a 25-20 advantage with 6:00 remanining. The Wildcats closed the half with a 9-3 offensive surge to take a 29-28 lead.

The Wildcats opened the second half with a 9-4 run. Willamette scored the next eight points -- ending with a 3-pointer by Nathan Sherfey (So., W, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS) -- to edge past the Wildcats, 40-38, with 13:40 left.

Linfield scored the next eight points to start a 19-7 run for a 57-47 lead with 4:45 on the clock. Maloof registered 11 points during the offensive outburst.

Three baskets by Brown allowed Willamette to offset a pair of free throws by Maloof and cut the deficit to 59-53 at the 2:51 mark. The Wildcats extended the margin to 63-53, before WU pulled within five points in the final seconds.

Maloof and Brown were the only players to finish in double figures. McCullough added nine points and Troplent scored eight for the Bearcats. Vince Romeo provided Linfield with eight points.

Luedtke led WU with 12 rebounds and has recorded 199 rebounds this season. Linfield won the overall battle on the boards, 42-37.

The Wildcats shot 38.2% for the game (21 of 55) and hit 4 of 15 three-pointers (26.7%). Willamette connected on just 32.8% of its field goals (20 of 61), while making 6 of 18 from 3-point range. Both teams shot well at the free throw line, with Willamette hitting 13 of 16 shots (81.3%), while the Wildcats sank 18 fo 22 (81.8%).

Willamette committed just eight turnovers during the game and forced Linfield into 17 miscues. The Bearcats recorded a 13-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Bearcats will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 6 with an NWC match-up against University of Puget Sound at Cone Field House. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).