Bearcats Shoot 57.7% to Win on the Road at Portland Bible, 90-73

Nathan Sherfey (Sr., F, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS)
Nathan Sherfey (Sr., F, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Willamette University shot 57.7% from the field (30 of 52), as the Bearcats outscored Portland Bible College, 90-73, to pick up a road victory on Saturday, Dec. 9. The Bearcats improved to 4-3 on the season. Portland Bible fell to 1-9.

Jordan Jenkins (Jr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) and Nathan Sherfey (Sr., F, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS) scored 18 points apiece to lead the Bearcats. Brendon McCullough (Sr., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) provided 13 points. CJ Walker (Jr., P, Placentia, CA/Mayfair HS) added eight points.

"Nathan Sherfey's effort and production off the bench was absolutely vital to our win," Willmaette Head Coach Kip Ioane said. "As a team our second half defense keyed every big run we were able to make."

While shooting well over 50% from the field, the Bearcats hit 7 of 15 attempts from 3-point range (46.7%). Each team grabbed 35 rebounds. Nico Troplent (Sr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) led WU with five boards.

Cameron Jensen topped Portland Bible with 27 points to go along with five rebounds, four blocked shots, two assists and two steals. He was 11 of 23 on field goals. Keoni Peneueta tallied 16 points for the Wildcats, while William Bratcher scored 10 points. The Wildcats shot 38.7% on field goals (24 of 62) and made just 8 of 28 three-point shots (28.6%). Kenese Peneueta earned six rebounds for PBC.

The Bearcats controlled the second half for a 50-31 scoring advantage on their way to the 17-point win. Willamette connected on 68.0% of its shots in the second half (17 of 25).

Both teams shot well at the free throw line. Willamette sank 22 of 29 free throws (75.9%), while the Wildcats converted 17 of 22 attempts (77.3%)

The game included 52 fouls, with 27 on Portland Bible and 25 on the Bearcats. Troplent fouled out for Willamette. Jensen, Bratcher and Riley Anderson each fouled out for PBC. The game was played at The Box on the Portland Bible campus.

"It was a very tough environment to play in," Ioane said. "I am proud of how we handled the situation, and coming away with a win was huge for us."

A 10-0 run early in the game gave the Bearcats a 12-3 advantage with 14:08 left in the first half. Troplent scored the first five points during he run, before McCullough tacked on a 3-pointer and Jenkins hit a pair of free throws. WU owned a 23-11 lead after Sherfey hit a jumper just over two minutes later. The teams exchanged the next two baskets, and then Portland Bible went on a 7-0 run to get within 25-20 on two charity tosses by Keoni Peneueta at the 6:00 mark.

Portland Bible reduced the lead to a single point a bit later at 29-28 on two free throws from Bratcher. The Wildcats tied the score at 34-34 on a 3-pointer by Keoni Peneueta and again at 36-36 on a jumper by Jensen with 2:37 on the clock. Two free throws by Riley Anderson gave Portland Bible a 38-36 edge 21 seconds later. PBC held a 42-39 lead at halftime. 

WU moved in front, 46-44, when McCullough scored on a basket with about 15 minutes remaining. Jensen scored for Portland Bible to tie the game, but Willamette answered with an 11-0 run for a 57-46 advantage. Jenkins scored four points during the run, while Sherfey hit a 3-pointer. The Wildcats eventually drew within six points, 64-58, on a basket by Jensen.

The Bearcats countered with another run, this time a 10-1 surge for a 74-59 margin. Sherfey and Casey Thornton (Sr., W, Santa Rosa, CA/Maria Carrillo HS) each contributed a 3-point basket during the run. Portland Bible tallied the next four points on a baskets by Jensen and Kenese Peneueta, but WU responded again, adding an 8-1 scoring edge for an 82-64 lead.

Willamette will be back in action on Sunday, Dec. 10, when the Bearcats will host Northwest Indian College. Game time at Cone Field House is set for 5 p.m. (PST). It will be the third game in as many days for the Bearcats, who lost to Corban University, 86-73, on Friday.