The men’s basketball team won a game and lost a game this past weekend. The Bearcats used a large run in the second half to take down Pacific Lutheran University on Friday, Feb. 1. After a tight beginning on Saturday, Feb. 2, the Bearcats allowed Linfield College to gain a large amount of momentum and couldn’t come back.
The Bearcats played at home on Friday, Feb. 1 against PLU, ,who now holds the same Northwest Conference (NWC) record as WU, both winning four and losing eight. After a tight first half where Pacific Lutheran held a one-point lead, the Bearcats opened the second half with a 21-2 run and kept the lead for the rest of the game to win, 85-77. This was the Bearcats’ third win in the last four games.
First-year Jonathon Watts contributed 11 points of the Bearcats’ 21-2 run, including three three-pointers. Altogether, Watts scored a career-high 20 points. Senior Jordan Jenkins added 18 points and tied his career-high record for rebounds with 15. This is the third time this season that Jenkin has grabbed 15 rebounds in a game. Jenkins also has 12 double-doubles this season.
Also scoring in double digits were senior Trent Callan and sophomore Ben Sutton. Callan had 17 points and five assists, while Sutton scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds. Connor Greiger led PLU with 23 points and he added five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Altogether, the Bearcats had a large advantage in total rebounds, 43-23. This included 15 offensive rebounds.
During the second half, Willamette shot 14 of 23 from the field (61 percent). Pacific Lutheran dropped to 6-13 overall in the loss and 3-8 in the NWC.
The next night, the Bearcats traveled to McMinnville, OR to take on rival Linfield College. Five WU players scored in double digits, but the team couldn’t pull away with the win, losing 82-69. The teams played close in the first half, with Willamette leading 23-16 with nine minutes left. But the Wildcats surged and outscored the Bearcats 25-9. Heading into halftime, Linfield held the lead with a nine point margin, 41-32. In the second half, the Bearcats began to battle back, coming within four points of Linfield, 54-50. But the Wildcats made another run, outscoring Willamette 14-6 and held onto their lead for the rest of the game. Sophomore Justus Eaglesmith led the Bearcats in scoring, putting up 14 points and also achieving four rebounds and one assist. Jenkins put up yet another double-double, accumulating 13 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Watts had 10 points, four rebounds and two assists, Sutton had 10 points, four rebounds and one assist. Sophomore Alec Barba had 11 points and a block. The Bearcats shot 24 for 58 from the field (41 percent) and 10 for 26 from three-point range (38 percent). Linfield improved to 15-6 overall with the win and 8-4 in the NWC. The Bearcats fell to 7-14 overall, with 4-8 in the NWC. Willamette is currently ranked 7th in the NWC. Their next game will be at home against the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. (PST).