By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Nico Troplent (Jr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) of Willamette University recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough, as Alma College (Mich.) ended the game with a 9-2 run for a 75-67 win over the Bearcats at Cone Field House on Tuesday, Dec. 20. Trevor Gernaat led the Scots with a double-double of his own, as he led all players with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Alma improved to 3-5 on the season. Willamette dropped to 1-8.
Troplent was joined in double figures by Hayden Russell (Sr., W, Woodland, CA/Da Vinci Charter Academy), who scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Russell also contributed four assists and three steals.
Jordan Jenkins (So., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) added eight points for the Bearcats. Casey Thornton (Jr., W, Santa Rosa, C/Maria Carrillo HS) scored four points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Gernaat went 8 of 13 from the field and hit 2 of 3 three-point attempts. He was one of three players in double figures for Alma.
Tyler Edwards finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Steven Harvey scored 11 points and blocked one shot. Harvey went 4 for 4 on field goals (2 for 2 on 3-pointers) and sank his only free throw attempt. Ryan Stevens led the Scots with five assists and three steals.
Troplent hit a 3-point shot just over a minute into the game to give the Bearcats a 3-2 lead. Alma scored the next five points to start a 20-4 run that gave the Scots a 22-7 advantage with 12:20 left in the first half. Alma's offensive surge included eight points by Harvey, who was one of three Scots with a 3-pointer during the run. Also hitting a 3-pointer were Gernaat and Chase Fairchild.
Willamette countered with a 4-0 run to cut the margin to 22-11 at the 11:29 mark. WU also got within 11 points at 24-13 following a layup by Troplent with 9:58 on the clock.
Later in the half, Alama took a 17-point lead at 33-16 on a basket by Luke Lamoreaux with 7:45 left. The Bearcats tallied the next six points, but the Scots replied with a 5-0 run.
A 14-5 run by the Bearcats reduced the lead to 43-36 with 1:01 remaining in the half. The run ended with back-to-back 3-pointers by Conan Oishi (Jr., G, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) and Russell. The Scots ended the half with a 47-38 advantage.
Willamette put through the first four points of the second half. After Trent Callan (So., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) sank two free throws, Troplent scored on a layup with 18:11 to go, cutting Alma's lead to 47-42.
The Bearcats eventually pulled within 53-51 following a jumper by Dylan Critchfield (Jr., P, Broomfield, CO/Standley Lake HS) at the 14:09 mark. WU then forced a 55-55 tie on a layup by Jenkins with 12:33 on the clock, plus a 58-58 tie on a 3-pointer by Russell with 12:00 left.
Thornton gave Willamette a 60-58 lead when he scored on a jumper with 10:20 remaining. The Scots moved back in front with the next four points on a layup by Gernaat and a layup by Edwards on a fast-break with 7:09 to go.
The Scots held a 66-63 edge on a layup by Edwards at the 3:50 mark. Johnny Verduin (Sr./So., F, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) reduced the lead to a single point with a jumper for the Bearcats 23 seconds later.
Alma expanded the lead to 71-65 on a basket from Edwards and a 3-pointer by Gernaat. WU pulled within four points when Troplent hit a jumper with 2:04 left, but the Scots scored the last four points of the game.
For the game, Alma shot 51.8% from the field (29 of 56), including 57.6% in the first half, when the Scots sank 19 of 33 attempts. Alma was 7 of 15 from 3-point range (46.7%), but made just 2 of 7 attempts over the final 20 minutes.
Willamette connected on 37.1% of its field goals (26 of 70) and made 7 of 28 three-point shots (25.0%). Alma earned a 41-40 rebounding edge, but Willamette held a 16-8 edge in offensive boards. The Bearcats forced the Scots into 20 turnovers, while WU lost the ball 14 times.
Alma will take on Whitworth University at Cone Field House on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. (PST). Willamette will play again on Thursday, Dec. 29 against Ripon College (Wis.). Tipoff at Cone Field House is set for 2 p.m. (PST).