By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Seven players on the Willamette University men's basketball team are shooting 50% or better from the field this season. Their combined efforts have led to a team shooting percentage of 50.8%, including 48.1% from 3-point range. It's still very early in the season -- the Bearcats have played just two games -- but the consistent shooting threat has been a positive sign for Head Coach Kip Ioane.
Justus Eaglesmith (So., G, Sparks NV/Spanish Springs HS) leads the way among players with 10 or more attempts, as he has earned 90.9% accuracy while connecting on 10 of 11 shots. He's also the 3-point shooting leader for players with at least six attempts. He is 7 of 8 from long range for 87.5%.
Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS), who ranks first on the team with 14.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, is shooting 50.0% on field goals (12 of 24). He's also 4 for 4 at the free throw line.
Other shooters with 50% or higher shooting totals are Ryan Peterson (So, P, Edmonds, WA/Edmonds-Woodway HS), Trent Callan (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), CJ Walker (Jr., P, Placentia, CA/Mayfair HS), Jeff Sutherland (Sr., F, Seattle, WA/Seattle Christian HS) and Dylan Streett (Fr., G, Santa Barbara, CA/Bishop Diego HS). Peterson is shooting 80.0% (4 for 5), Callan is connecting at 64.3% (9 of 14), and Walker is at 50.0% (4 of 8). Sutherland is 2 for 2 and Streett is 1 for 1 on the season.
Eaglesmith and two other Bearcats have provided Willamette with seven 3-point baskets apiece. Alec Barba (So., W, Dallas, OR/Central HS) has scored on 7 of 14 three-point shots for 50.0%. Caleb Roberts (Sr., W, Salem, OR/North HS) has put through 7 of 17 three-pointers for 41.2%.
"It has been fun to watch Caleb Roberts lead the shooters position group, especially as a senior," Ioane said. "Him playing and shooting with confidence has boosted Alec Barba, Justus Eaglesmith and other guys' confidence."
The successful shooting by the Bearcats has allowed five players to earn double-digit scoring averages. Jenkins' 14.5 points per game top the chart, while Eaglesmith follows closely with 13.5 points per game and Barba is third with 13.0 points per game. Roberts has contributed 10.5 points per night and Callan has averaged 10.0 points per contest.
"Shooting equals spacing, and for us to be shooting the way we have, it only serves to open lanes for other opportunities to score as well," Ioane noted. "Stretching defenses thin is a huge asset for us!"
Willamette, currently 0-2, has averaged 81.0 points per game. The Bearcats will play their third game of the season on Friday, Nov. 23, when Willamette is scheduled to take on Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) as part of the David Wells Classic in Claremont, California. The game will be played at the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) gymnasium starting at 4:30 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will remain in Southern California to play Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the second round of the David Wells Classic on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Pomona-Pitzer's gymnasium. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.