EUGENE, Ore. – Surging from a 10-all tie midway through the first half, the Northwest Christian Beacons ran away from the Linfield Wildcats to register a 73-57 nonconference win Saturday night inside Morse Event Center.
The game matched a pair of sharp-shooting guards in NCU's Coleton Baker and Linfield's Ryan Potter (Fr., Molalla, Ore.). Baker pumped in a game-high 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting, nailing five 3-point baskets in the process. He also contributed four assists, four rebounds and two steals for NCU, which improved to 7-3 for the season.
Potter was accurate from long-range as well, hitting eight bombs from outside the arc to finish with a team- and season-high 24 points. The freshman from Molalla also added three assists and three rebounds to aid the Wildcats' cause.
Closing the first half with a 17-4 run that featured a trio of threes from Baker, NCU opened up a commanding 27-14 advantage at intermission. The Wildcats did manage to trim the margin to a single digit once after Potter hit a 3-pointer with 14:32 left that made it 36-27. But the Beacons answered by scoring the next seven points and the game was never in doubt after that.
Jackson Gion (Fr., Morgan Hill, Calif.) scored nine points but struggled through a 3-for-11 night from the field. Chris Dirks (Jr., Hood River, Ore.) hit 3 of 6 shots and totaled six points and six rebounds to go along with one blocked shot.
Linfield shot a rusty 19.2 percent from the field in the first half yet improved that figure to 57.7 percent during the second half. The Beacons outrebounded the ‘Cats 36-30, led by Austin Kuemper who pulled in eight rebounds to go with 10 points.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Potter's eight 3-pointers were two short of the school record of 10 set by Steve Taylor against Whitman in 2008. . . . NCU enjoyed a 26-6 advantage in free throw attempts. . . Linfield converted five of its six free throw opportunities compared with a 17-for-26 effort by the Beacons. . . NCU is coached by former Oregon Ducks star Luke Jackson, a native of nearby Creswell.
COMING UP: The Wildcats (2-4) continue their path southward, playing a Monday night game at Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
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