Whitman, Ranked #12, Rolls Past Bearcats in Men's Basketball

Brendon McCullough (So., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled)
Brendon McCullough (So., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled)

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College, ranked #12 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, shot 53.9% form the field and made 11 of 21 three-pointers in a 103-52 men's basketball victory over Willamette University on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Sherwood Center. Tim Howell provided the Missionaries with 19 points.

With the win, Whitman advanced its record to 19-3 on the season, including 11-2 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette dropped to 7-15 overall, 4-9 in the NWC.

Howell connected on 9 of 13 field goals. He was one of four Whitman players who reached double figures. Christina Mcdonald scored 16 points and hit 6 of 10 field gals, including 4 of 5 three-point shots. Joey Hewitt supplied 14 points, while Jeff Kenney earned 10.

Willamette's top scorer was Brendon McCullough (So., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) with 10 points. Alex Brown (Sr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) and Jameson Willems (Fr., F, Billings, MT/Skyview HS) each scored six points for the Bearcats.

Although Whitman tallied 53 points in the first half and 50 in the second half, the defense of the Missionaries in the first half led to the sizable win. Whitman held the Bearcats to just 20.7% shooting over the first 20 minutes (6 of 29), including 1 for 13 on 3-pointers. Willamette improved to 44.4% in the second half (12 of 27), while making 5 of 13 shots from long range (38.5%).

The Bearcats trailed just 5-4 afer Brown scored on a layup with 17:45 left in the first half. Whitman went on a 7-2 run for a 12-6 lead following a layup by Howell with 15:38 on the clock.

Willamette registered the next four points to get within 12-10, but Whitman responded with a 6-0 run. The Missionaries owned a five-point lead at 18-13 after a traditional three-point play by McCullough for the Bearcats at the 11:48 mark.

Three-point baskets by Howell and McDonald opened up an 8-2 run by the Missionaries for a 26-15 advantage. Brown hit 1 of 2 free throws for the Bearcats with 9:09 on the clock to pull Willamette within 10 points.

Whitman held Willamette scoreless for nearly nine minutes, while the Missionaries tacked on 25 unanswered points for a 51-16 lead with 28 seconds left in the half. Bridger Harlington (Sr., W, Lake Tapps, WA/Auburn Riverside HS) ended the lengthy run by sinking two free throws for the Bearcats with 13 seconds remaining.

The Missionaries outscored Willamette 50-34 in the second half. Whitman put through 41 of 76 field goals during the game (53.9%). Although the Missionaries shot 52.4% from 3-point range, they converted jsut 52.6% at the free throw line (10 of 19).

Willamette committed 26 turnovers leading to 31 points for the Missionaries. Whitman also recorded a 53-30 rebounding margin, led by six players with five rebounds apiece. Conin Oishi (So., G, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) grabbed five rebounds to lead the Bearcats.

On Saturday, Feb. 13, the Bearcats will play at Whitworth University, ranked #5 in the D3hoops.com Top 25. Tipoff in Spokane, Washington, is set for 6 p.m. (PST). Willamette took the Pirates into overtime at Cone Field House on Jan. 15, before Whitworth, ranked #1 at the time, outlasted the Bearcats, 81-77.