Whitman, Ranked #3, Remains Undefeated in NWC with Win over Willamette

Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS)
Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Whitman College, ranked #3 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, used its high-powered offense and pressure defense to improve to 17-1 overall and to 9-0 in the Northwest Conference with a 120-78 win against Willamette University, at Cone Field House on Friday, Jan. 25. The Blues have won 13 games in a row since suffering their only loss against Pomona-Pitzer, 112-109, in two overtimes on Nov. 24. Willamette dropped to 5-13 overall, 2-7 in the NWC.

Four Whitman players reached double figures in scoring, led by Darne Duckett with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Joey Hewitt tacked on 16 points. Cedric Jacobs-Jones scored 12 points, while hitting 6 of 8 field goals, and Austin Butler contributed 10 points. Trevor Osborne put through a trio of 3-point shots, as he added nine points for the Blues.

Jordan Jenkins (Sr., F, Placentia, CA/Valencia HS) was Willamette's top scorer with 18 points, while sinking 10 of 10 free throws and leading the Bearcats with four assists. He increased his career scoring total to 942 points after reaching double figures for the 17th time in 18 games this season. In addition, Jenkins grabbed six rebounds to give him 502 career boards.

Also in double figures for the Bearcats were Jonathan Watts (Fr., G, San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS) with 17 points and Alec Barba with 15 points. Watts connected on 3 of 5 three-point attempts, and also supplied WU with seven rebounds and three assists. Barba hit 5 of 7 three-point shots.

Whitman connected on 42 of 74 field goals for 56.8% and made 12 of 27 3-pointers for 44.4%. The Blues sank 24 of 35 free throws (68.6%). Willamette shot 48.1% for the game (26 of 54), including 52.0% in the second half (13 of 25). The Bearcats were successful on 10 of 23 three-point attempts (43.5%). Willamette converted 16 of 18 free throws (88.9%), including 14 of 14 in the second half.

The Blues gained a 41-29 rebounding edge, led by Robert Colton and and Andrew Vickers, each with five boards. Whitman's pressure forced Willamette into 25 turnovers leading to 36 points. Whitman lost the ball 10 times resulting in 13 points for the Bearcats.

After Willamette scored first on a 3-pointer by Watts, Whitman answered with seven points in a row. Jenkins added a layup for the Bearcats, but the Blues earned the next six points for a 13-8 lead. A bit later, Whitman grabbed an 18-7 advantage following a layup by Butler.

Two 3-pointers by Barba -- scored with 14:51 and 14:35 left in the half -- propelled the Bearcats within 18-13. Whitman tacked on a 13-4 run for a 31-17 lead with 12:33 on the clock. The run featured two 3-pointers by Osborne and one trifecta from Duckett.

Whitman's advantage grew to 21 points before the Bearcats reduced the margin to 47-32 on a 3-pointer by Watts with 5:58 remaining in the half. The Blues outscored the Bearcats 17-2 over the remainder of the half to take a 64-34 lead. Whitman was in front by at least 25 points throughout the second half.

The Bearcats will host Whitworth University on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Cone Field House. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST). The Pirates are ranked #5 in the D3hoops.com Top 25.