Whitman, Ranked #2, Defeats Willamette, 100-59, in Walla Walla

Hayden Russell (Jr., W, Woodland, CA/Da Vinci Charter Academy)
Hayden Russell (Jr., W, Woodland, CA/Da Vinci Charter Academy)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College, ranked #21 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, placed four players in double figures and shot 54.4% from the field, as the Blues rolled past Willamette University, 100-59, in Northwest Conference men's basketball action on Saturday, Jan. 28. Tim Howell led the Blues with 18 points, helping Whitman up its record to 19-0, 10-0 in the NWC.

Also scoring in double figures for Whitman were Joey Hewitt with 13 points, Austin Butler with 12 points and Jaron Kirkley with 11 points. The Blues converted 37 of 68 field goals and sank 6 of 15 three-point attempts. Whitman was 20 for 25 (80.0%) at the free throw line.

Willamette's top scorer was Hayden Russell (Sr., W, Woodland, CA/Da Vinci Charter Academy) with 10 points, including a pair of 3-point baskets. Russell also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Casey Thornton (Jr., F, Santa Rosa, CA/Maria Carrillo HS) and Conin Oishi (Jr., G, Lake Forest Park, WA/Shorecrest HS) each produced eight points for the Bearcats. Trent Callan (So., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) scored seven points. Nathan Sherfey (Jr., F, Chehalis, WA/W.F. West HS) finished with six points and six rebounds.

For the game, WU shot 32.3% from the field (20 of 62), while making 9 of 24 three-point shots (37.5%0. The Bearcats sank 10 of 14 free throws for 71.4%. Willamette fell to 3-16 on the season, 1-9 in the NWC.

WU scored first on two free throws by Jordan Jenkins (So., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS). Whitman tied the score when Butler hit two free throws with 18:52 left to start a 10-0 run by the Blues. A layup by Howell at the 16:29 mark gave Whitman a 10-2 lead.

The margin increased to 18-4, as a jumper by Brendon McCullough (Jr., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) of Willamette was followed by eight unanswered points for Whitman.

A free throw by McCullough ended the run, but Whitman tacked on four additional points to take a 22-5 lead on a jumper from Howell with 13:08 on the clock.

The Bearcats reduced the margin to 29-18 on a 3-pointer by Sherfey with 8:39 remaining in the half. WU cut the lead to 32-22 just 49 seconds later on a jumper by Jenkins with 7:40 to go.

Whitman recorded the next seven points for a 39-22 advantage following a layup by Butler. The Blues expanded their lead to 53-27 at halftime. Howell scored 11 points and Butler added 10 points in the first 20 minutes.

A 7-2 run by the Bearcats, including a 3-pointer by Sherfey, chipped the lead down to 55-34. Each team then added five points, leaving Whitman with a 60-39 margin with 15:01 left. The Blues scored the next seven points and continued to increase their lead.

The Blues outrebounded the Bearcats, 44-34. Trevor Osborne led WC with seven rebounds, while Butler hauled down six boards. Whitman's pressure defense forced Willamette into 26 turnovers. Butler, Jase Harrison and JoJo Wiggins each registered three steals, as the Blues achieved 14 steals overall.

McCullough earned two steals for the Bearcats. Jared Baumgartner (Sr., W, Albany, OR/Crescent Valley HS) topped WU with three assists.

The Bearcats will host Pacific Lutheran University at Cone Field House on Friday, Feb. 3. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. (PST).