By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
NEWBERG, Ore. -- JJ Lacey scored a game-high 28 points to lead George Fox University to an 85-73 win over Willamette University on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at Wheeler Sports Center. The Bruins held just a 76-71 lead with less than three minutes to go, but closed the game with a 9-2 run. Both team finished the game with a 7-17 record, including 4-11 in the Northwest Conference.
Lacey hit the nets nine times on 13 field goal attempts. He was 3 for 5 on 3-pointers and made 7 of 9 free throws. He also led the Bruins with nine rebounds. Johnathan Droutt contributed 12 ponts for GFU.
Seniors Alex Brown (Sr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) and Brandon Luedtke (Sr., F, Meridian, ID/Mountain View HS) topped Willamette's half of the boxscore. Brown produced a team-high 21 points on 8 of 16 shooting and 5 for 7 at the line. He also hauled down six rebounds. Luedtke supplied 11 points and a game-high 15 boards, to go along with two assists and two steals.
Luedtke moved past the 900 mark in career scoring. He has provided the Bearcats with 904 points over the past four seasons.
Nico Troplent (So., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) scored nine points and made three 3-point shots. Casey Thornton (So., F, Santa Rosa, CA/Maria Carrillo HS) produced eight points in 11 minutes off the bench.
Willamette put in the first four points of the night, before George Fox answered with a 13-0 run. Lacey scored nine of the points for the Bruins.
The Bearcats cut the lead to 15-11 with 14:26 left in the first half following a 7-2 run. Luedtke scored on a rebound and a layup for WU. Ryan Thistlewood made a layup for the Bruins, before Troplent added a 3-pointer for Willamette and Brown scored a layup on an inside move.
Later in the half, with 8:43 on the clock, Willamette caught up with the Bruins at 23-23. The tie was gained with six straight points by the Bearcats, including a 3-pointer by Trent Callin (Fr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS).
GFU pulled in front with a 3-pointer by Brendan Jones and held a 35-29 advantage after Johnathan Doutt sank two free throws with 3:07 remaining in the half.
Six straight points by the Bearcats tied the score. The run included two free throws by Brown, two charity shots by Bridger Harlington (Sr., W, Lake Tapps, WA/Auburn Riverside HS), and a 3-pointer by Brendon McCullough (So., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) with 56 seconds left.
GFU claimed a 37-35 halftime lead after Thistlewood hit two free throws with 4.1 seconds on the clock.
Brown of Willamette led all players at the break with 14 points. Lacey topped the Bruins with 10 points.
Willamette moved within 41-40 on a layup by Luedtke with 18:03 left in the game. George Fox scored the next eight points to start an 11-2 run for a 51-42 margin at the 15:42 mark. Lacey completed the run with a three-point play on a fast-break layup and a foul shot.
The Bruins led 58-46 with 14:07 to go following a fast-break layup by Thistlewood. The Bearcats reduced the deficit to eight points at 60-52 on a jumper by Thornton, before GFU extended the lead to 70-57 with about eight minutes left.
A layup by Brown and a 3-pointer by Conini Oishi (So., G, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) helped reduce the margin to 72-62 with 6:34 on the clock. Luedtke hit 1 of 2 free throws 33 seconds later, pulling WU within 72-63.
Willamette eventually got within six points at 73-67 on an inside move and layup by Thornton withi 5:04 left. Doutt increased GFU's advantage to 76-67 with a basket and 1 for 2 free throws over the next minute.
The Bearcats again threatened, cutting the lead to 76-71 on a jumper by Troplent with 2:56 remaining, but the Bruins ended the night with a 9-2 run.
For the game, GFU connected on 30 of 64 field goals (46.9%), including 16 of 26 (61.5%) over the final 20 minutes. The Bruins were 6 of 20 on three-pointers (30.0%). WU shot 34.7% from the field (26 of 75) and made just 6 of 29 attempts from 3-point range (20.7%).
George Fox gained a slim 44-43 rebounding margin and owned a 22-14 advantage in points off turnovers, although both teams lost the ball 21 times. The Bearcats gained a 16-9 edge in offensive boards and claimed a 14-11 margin in second-chance points.
Willamette will conclude the season on Friday, Feb. 19 against Lewis & Clark College. Tipoff on Gordie James Court in Cone Field House is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).