SALEM, Ore. - Aided by 13 3-pointers and 23 Linfield turnovers, Willamette took control early before blowing out the Wildcats 92-66 in a Northwest Conference basketball game Saturday night at Cone Field House.
After falling behind 23-22 on a pair of Sergio Rosario free throws with 6:28 remaining in the first half, Willamette (4-9, 1-3 NWC) regrouped with a key 19-7 run to close out the half. The spurt would leave the Bearcats with a 41-30 lead heading into intermission.
Five-straight points from Taylor Mounts extended the lead to seven before Oliver Hughes buried a big 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining in the half.
After scoring the last basket of the first half, Linfield (5-8, 1-3 NWC) went scoreless for more than four minutes to start the second half. A 3-pointer from Cory Hendryx (Jr., Scappoose, Ore.) at the 15:22 mark broke the scoreless spell, but not before Willamette had built a 52-33 advantage.
Following a Bearcat free throw, the Wildcats answered back with seven-straight points, trimming the lead to 13.
Linfield continued to chip away, getting within seven at 59-52 on a K.C. Wiser 3-pointer with 10:12 remaining.
Leading 69-60 with 6:22 on the clock, the Bearcats put the Wildcats away with a timely 15-4 run. A Ryan Meehan score at the 2:51 mark capped off the run, leaving Willamette with an 84-64 lead.
The inability to protect the basketball proved to the difference in the game. Linfield had 12 players with a turnover, while Willamette committed just 10 turnovers as a team.
Meehan gave the Bearcats a huge lift off the bench, scoring a game-high 24 points. Terrell Malley added 23 points in the win. Willamette shot 50 percent for the game, including a blistering 69.2 percent during the second half.
Wiser led the Wildcats with a team-high 22 points.
NEXT: Linfield resumes play Friday when the ‘Cats visit Pacific for an 8 p.m. game.
7 rebounds, 4 assists 1 steal
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128