Willamette Falls to Montclair State in Men's Basketball Regular Season Opener

Cade Whicker (Fy., F, Fruit Heights, UT/Davis HS)
Cade Whicker (Fy., F, Fruit Heights, UT/Davis HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University trailed by 16 points at halftime, but pulled within nine points at 60-51 with 16:30 remaining, before visiting Montclair State University (N.J.) ended the game with a 47-23 run to defeat the Bearcats, 107-74, at Cone Field House on Friday, Nov. 9. Montclair State improved to 1-1 on the season. Willamette, playing its season opener, ended the game with a 0-1 record.

Montclair State was led by Akbar Hoffman with 23 points and Eddie Emedoh with 20 points. Each shot 50% from the field, as Hoffman made 8 of 16 attempts and Emedoh was 6 of 12. Irving Callender IV scored 14 points for the Red Hawks, while Justin Porter supplied 12 points and Jalen Parham contributed 10 points. Porter led MSU with nine rebounds and Callender registered six rebounds, helping the Red Hawks attain a 54-41 rebounding edge.

Willamette's top scorer was Cade Whicker (Fy., F, Fruit Heights, UT/Davis HS), who scored 22 points and also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Daniel Plumer (Fy., PG, North Las Vegas, NV/Democracy Preparatory Academy) added 20 points and five boards for the Bearcats. Whicker and Plumer each connected on 7 of 12 shots from the field. Whicker was 4 for 8 on 3-pointers, while Plumer sank 2 of 4 long-range shots.

Ben Sutton (Jr., F, Seattle, WA/Ingraham HS) earned six points for Willamette to go with three rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and a steal. Alec Barba (Jr., G, Dallas, OR/Central HS) and Jack Boydell (Fy., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) both scored five points.

Three-pointers by Emedoh and Hoffman in the first two minutes gave Montclair State a 6-0 lead. The Red Hawks held a 10-4 edge following a layup by Callender with 15:49 remaining in the half.  Porter scored on a layup at the 12:41 mark to give MSU an 18-6 margin. The Bearcats reduced the deficit to eight points at 19-11 about a minute later on a 3-pointer by Whicker.

The Red Hawks tacked on a 10-3 run to gain a 29-14 advantage after a layup by Hoffman with 8:27 on the clock. Montclair State was in front 52-36 at halftime.

MSU scored first to start the second half, but Willamette answered with a 15-6 run. The run by the Bearcats included one 3-pointer each by Justus Eaglesmith (Jr., G, Sparks NV/Spanish Springs HS), Plumer and Whicker. It was Whicker's trifecta that cut the lead to 60-51.

Two free throws by Callender and a 3-point basket by Steve Breeman increased the Red Hawk's lead to 65-51. MSU added a 9-4 run to build a 74-55 advantage with 13:20 remaining in the game.

Montclair State connected on 57.6% of its field goals in the second half (19 of 33) to finish the game at 50.0% (36 of 72). The Red Hawks sank 10 of 28 three-pointers (35.7%). Willamette shot 34.3% from the field for the game (24 of 70) after hitting just 27.3% in the first half (9 of 33).

The Bearcats will host crosstown rival Corban University at Cone Field House on Saturday, Nov. 16. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST).