Loggers Rally from 48-46 Deficit to Outlast Bearcats, 70-62, in Men's Basketball

Nico Troplent (Jr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS)
Nico Troplent (Jr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- University of Puget Sound rallied from a 48-46 deficit against Willamette University with 8:39 remaining, as the Loggers scored the next nine points, and then held off the Bearcats for a 70-62 win on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Cone Field House. Jimmy Wohrer scored 23 points to lead the Loggers.

Puget Sound advanced its record to 12-9 overall and to 5-7 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette moved to 3-18 on the season, including 1-11 in the NWC.

Carlos Mancasola earned 16 points and seven rebounds for the Loggers. Stellan Roberts grabbed 10 rebounds.

Casey Thornton (Jr., F, Santa Rosa, CA/Maria Carrillo HS) tallied 11 points for Willamette. Nico Troplent (Jr., W, Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS) added nine points and nine rebounds. CJ Walker (So., P, Placentia, CA/Mayfair HS) scored eight points and blocked three shots. A total of six Bearcats, including Thornton, Troplent and Walker, each scored seven or more points.

The Loggers put up the first seven points of the game, including a 3-pointer by Wohrer. The Bearcats countered with five consecutive points on a jumper by Walker, a free throw from Brendon McCullough (Jr., G, San Antonio, TX/Home Schooled) and a jumper by Trent Callan (So., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS).

Willamette tied the game at 9-9 on two free throws by Troplent with 13:14 left in the half. Puget Sound moved back into the lead on a 3-point shot by Wohrer. A bit later, the Bearcats took their first lead at 15-14 when McCullough sank two charity shots with 9:32 on the clock.

The teams remained close during the remainder of the first half. The teams combined for five ties and four lead changes in the first 20 minutes. Wohrer gave the Loggers a 28-26 halftime lead by putting through a layup with 25 seconds left.

Willamette's defense excelled in the opening half of play. The Bearcats recorded five blocked shots -- three by Walker and two by Jordan Jenkins (So., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS). WU held the Loggers to just 29.4% shooting (10 of 34). Puget Sound scored on just 2 of 12 three-pointers in the first half.

The Bearcats and the Loggers were tied two more times early in the second half. Willamette broke a 31-31 tie with a layup by Johnny Verduin (Sr./So., F, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) at the 16:43 mark. Walker tacked on another layup just 22 second later, giving the Bearats a 35-31 lead.

Puget Sound battled back to tie the game at 38-38 on a layup by Roberts with 13:44 to play. WU regained the lead on a layup by Jenkins, but the Loggers eventually moved in front 42-41 on a jumper by Carlos Mancasola with 11:37 remaining. It was Mancasola's first successful shot after missing his first 11 attempts.

A jumper by Wohrer increased the lead to 44-41. Willamette took a 46-44 advantage on a 3-pointer by Thornton and a hook shot by Dylan Critchfield (Jr., P, Broomfield, CO/Standley Lake HS) with 9:17 to go. Easton Driessen of Puget Sound created the 11th tie of the game with a layup. Walker propelled Willamette into a 48-46 lead with a basket at the 8:39 mark.

Zach Miller scored on a layup for the Loggers with 7:39 left to create the game's 12th and final tie at 48-48. Puget Sound went in front on another layup by Miller. A 3-pointer from Wohrer and a layup by Mancasola gave the Loggers a 55-48 edge as the clock reached 4:46.

The Bearcats got as close as three points at 57-54 on two free throws by Jordan with 2:39 remaining, but Mancasola sank a 3-pointer on Puget Sound's next possession. The Loggers went 7 of 8 at the free throw line in the final 31 seconds to secure the win.

Puget Sound shot 52.0% in the second half (13 of 25) to finish the game at 39.0% (23 of 59). The Loggers hit 5 of 21 three-pointers (23.8%) and converted 19 of 26 free throws (73.1%). Willamette connected on 40.4% of its field goals (21 of 52), including 4 for 13 on 3-pointers (30.8%). WU was 16 of 26 at the charity stripe (61.5%).

The Bearcats will host Lewis & Clark College on Friday, Feb. 10. Game time at Cone Field House is slated for 8 p.m. (PST).