McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Mike Taylor scored five of his 21 points in the final 1:23, sealing a come-from-behind 84-77 Northwest Conference victory for the George Fox Bruins over the Linfield Wildcats Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Outshot and outrebounded, the Bruins committed only four turnovers in the game, setting a club record for fewest miscues. Their bench also proved vital in the road victory, outscoring the Linfield reserves 17-3.
Four Wildcats scored in double figures, led by the 22 points of Zach Anderson, who hit for 18 first-half points but fell all but silent in the second stanza. Andrew Batiuk pumped in 20 points, while David Lee and Zach Meikle each totaled 15 points.
Linfield (3-14, 1-7 NWC) suffered its fourth straight defeat, preventing Wildcats coach Larry Doty from securing his school record 325th career victory.
George Fox (8-8, 5-2 NWC) kept pace in the hunt for a NWC playoff berth.
A hot start by the Wildcats in the first half didn’t carry over to the second half. Still, the ‘Cats had opportunities to win in the closing stages.
With his team trailing 76-70 with 2:01 to go, Batiuk hit a 3-point bucket to pull to within three. That’s when Taylor rose to the occasion, dropping in two free throws that put George Fox back in front by five, then finishing off the ‘Cats with an arching 3-pointer from the top of the circle.
The teams combined for 22 3-pointers, including 12 (on 25 attempts) by the Bruins.
Down five to start the second half, the Bruins turned the tide in their favor, scoring the first seven points after intermission. GFU built its largest lead of 10 points with 7:52 remaining, then took care of the basketball to avert a Linfield rally.
The Wildcats were on fire in the first half, connecting on a sizzling 67 percent of their shots to the Bruins’ 44. Anderson hit six 3-pointers in the period while Meikle and Batiuk each added eight points.
Linfield also held a considerable edge on the backboards, outrebounding the visitors by a 17-8 count in the opening 20 minutes and 35-19 for the game. Anthony Sanchez led the Bruins with 10 first-half points and finished with 14.
George Fox bounded to a 5-0 advantage to start the game, before the Wildcats reeled of nine straight points to assume early command. Linfield led by as many as 14 following a 3-pointer by Anderson at the 8:11 mark.
For the game, Linfield shot 58 percent from the field. The Bruins hit 50 percent, including 10-of-16 from 3-point range.
In addition to Taylor’s 21, Sean Atkins added 15 points and five rebounds.
Batiuk led all rebounders with nine, Lee had seven and Anderson five.
AHEAD: Northwest Conference play continues Tuesday night when the Pacific Boxers pay the Wildcats a visit for an 8 p.m. contest. Live internet play-by-play coverage starts at approximately 7:50.
22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128