By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
TACOMA, Wash. -- University of Puget Sound held a 75-64 lead with 4:33 remaining, but Willamette University cut the margin to five points 39 seconds left, before the Loggers prevailed, 85-75, in a Northwest Conference game on Friday, January 11. Willamette pulled within six points at 3:26 and 2:46, before reducing the deficit to 80-75 when Trent Callan (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) hit two free throws at the 39-second mark. Puget Sound moved its record to 6-8 overall, 2-3 in the NWC, while Willamette fell to 3-11, 1-5 in the NWC.
Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) of Willamette was the game's leading scorer with 24 points, as he hit 11 of 17 field goals. Jenkins recorded 11 rebounds, provided three assists and blocked two shots. He led all players with five steals. Jenkins has put together seven consecutive double-doubles for the Bearcats and has scored 20 or more points in eight of the last 10 games. He has elevated his career totals to 872 points and 462 rebounds.
Callan contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Willamette. Jonathan Watts (Fr., G, San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS) also scored 12 points, while Justus Eaglesmith (So., G, Sparks NV/Spanish Springs HS) registered 10 points.
"It was a very competitive back-and-forth game," Willamette Head Coach Kip Ioane said. "I thought we really took care of the ball with only five turnovers, but we just missed some shots we usually make. Credit Puget Sound with finishing some difficult attacks to the rim that ended up being the difference."
Jimmy Wohrer scored 17 points to top five Puget Sound players in double figures. Stellan Roberts recorded 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Cal Hansen earned a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Hansen also blocked three shots. Gabriel Chaikin tallied 13 points and hauled down eight rebounds. Zach Galacio scored 11 points, while making 5 of 6 field goals.
The Loggers owned a 41-36 lead at halftime and scored the first basket of the second half on a layup by Hansen. Willamette scored next on a layup by Jenkins, giving him 14 points for the game just 33 seconds after the halftime break. The Bearcats cut the lead to 47-43 on a 3-pointer by Caleb Roberts (Sr., W, Salem, OR/North HS) with 17:11 left, but the Loggers put up an 8-2 run to grab a 55-45 advantage at the 14:11 mark.
Willamette stormed back with a 10-2 run of its own, as the Bearcats reduced the deficit to 57-55 on a 3-point basket by Eaglesmith with 10:51 to play. Callan started the offensive surge with a 3-pointer, while Jenkins supplied the next four points. After each team added a basket, the Loggers scored six consecutive points for a 67-57 lead with 7:24 remaining.
The Bearcats got as close as six points at 70-64 on a 3-pointer by Callan with 5:19 remaining, but Puget Sound earned the next five points, ending with a 3-pointer by Walker Shibley-Styer with 4:33 to go. After fending off three rally attempts by the Bearcats, the Loggers closed out the win by sinking five of six free throws in the final 31 seconds.
In the first half, Willamette held an 18-10 lead on a 3-pointer by Alec Barba (So., W, Dallas, OR/Central HS) with 13:49 left, and later owned a 22-12 lead at the 12:35 mark after back-to-back layups from Jenkins. The Loggers countered with a 13-3 run to tie the game at 25-25. Wohrer scored on two 3-point baskets during the run. Puget Sound eventually took a 39-31 lead on a jumper by Gelacio with 2:13 to play, but a layup by Callan and a 3-pointer from Eaglesmith cut the lead to three-points. Stellan Roberts scored the final basket of the half for the Loggers with 1:04 left.
For the game, Puget Sound shot 56.1% on field goals (32 fo 57) and made a solid 10 of 20 on 3-point attempts (50.0%). The Loggers also made 11 of 13 free throws (84.6%). Willamette shot 40.5% overall (30 of 74), hit 10 of 33 long-range shots (30.3%) and converted 5 of 9 free throws (55.6%). Puget Sound held a 37-35 rebounding margin, but Willamette committed just five turnovers while forcing the Loggers to lose the ball 10 times.
The Bearcats will return to action quickly, as they will host Northwest Indian College on Saturday (Jan. 12) at Cone Field House. The game, originally scheduled for Dec. 12, but postponed at the request of Northwest Indian, is set to begin at 7 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
As he has throughout the season, Justus Eaglesmith found a way
to hit a couple of key 3-point shots against the Loggers. Perhaps
the biggest was with 10:51 left in the game to reduce Puget Sound's
lead to two points at 57-55. Late in the first half, he sank a 3-pointer
that pulled WU within 39-36 at the 1:24 mark. For the season, Justus
leads the Bearcats with 33 successful 3-point shots.