Men's BB Bounces Bearcats in Big Way
News Release Date:
Sunday, January 3
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With two freshmen and a sophomore combining for 49 points, Whitman College led from wire-to-wire in an 87-60 men's basketball victory over Willamette University Sunday afternoon in Salem, Ore.
Whitman, improving to 1-1 in the Northwest Conference and 7-4 overall, pestered Willamette into 30 turnovers and helped the Bearcats struggle through a poor shooting performance.
Willamette, falling to 0-2 in conference and 3-8 on the season, shot 30.8 percent from the floor and made just 17 of 33 (51.5 percent) attempts from the free throw line.
Peter Clark, one of the Missionary freshmen, connected on four 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 18 points.
Sophomore Brandon Shaw added 16 points and five steals, and freshman LuQuam Thompson contributed 15 points, four assists and four steals.
Two more freshmen came off the Whitman bench to make an impact. Drew Raher had nine points and five rebounds while Brady Brent was good for eight points.
Whitman led 42-32 at intermission and steadily pulled away in the second half.
Cameron Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 senior post, was a one-man show for Willamette with 22 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Taylor Mounts, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who had 16 points and nine rebounds, was the only other Bearcat scoring in double figures.
Whitman led 10-4 to start the game before Clark and Thompson hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 16-7 lead at the 13:48 mark of the first half. Mitchell's basket cut the Bearcat deficit to 20-17 with just over 10 minutes left in the half, but another three-ball by Clark stemmed the tide for Whitman.
After Brent's 3-pointer with 12 seconds left stretched the Missionary advantage to 42-31, Willamette's Marcus Holmes made one of two free throws to leave the Bearcats 10 points down at the break.
Mounts got the opening bucket of the second half for Willamette, but Shaw snared an offensive rebound and finished a three-point play in the paint. After Mounts and Clark traded 3-point bombs, the two teams continued to swap points until Clark struck again from the 3-point stripe for a 60-43 lead with 14:35 left on the clock.
Senior Jordan Wheeler drilled another Missionary three with 7:27 remaining to give Whitman a 74-51 lead. Whitman kept its lead above the 20-point mark for the rest of the game.
Whitman shot 40 percent from the floor for the game and knocked down 10 of 26 3-point attempts. The Missionaries finished with a total of 17 steals divided between eight players.
Willamette won the rebounding battle 56-44, but the Bearcats made just three of 16 shots from the 3-point arc.
Whitman returns home next weekend for games Friday and Saturday against George Fox and Pacific. Both games start at 8 p.m. on George Ball Court in Sherwood Center.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org