Coward Registers a Double-Double for Willamette in Loss to Bushnell

Cedric Coward takes the ball down the court as Daniel Palmer (right) follows.
Cedric Coward (Fy., F, Fresno, CA/Central HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Cedric Coward (Fy., F, Fresno, CA/Central HS) provided Willamette University with a double-double against Bushnell University in the Bearcats' regular season opener at Cone Field House on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Bushnell, playing its third game of the season, defeated the Bearcats, 117-83.

Coward scored 12 points and hauled down 10 rebounds to record his double-double. He also finished with five blocked shots, four assists, and three steals. He was one of five Bearcats in double figures. Ryder Hsiung (Fy., G, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) led the team with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range plus 2 for 3 at the line. Daniel Plumer (Jr., PG, North Las Vegas, NV/Democracy Preparatory Academy) added 12 points, seven assists, and four steals. Jack Boydell (Jr., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) accumulated 11 points, while Kenny Wright Jr. (Jr., PG, Dallas, TX/R.L. Turner HS) tallied 10 points.

Bushnell improved to 1-2 overall. Willamette fell to 0-1.

Stevie Schlabach topped the Beacons with a game-high 25 points and hit 10 of 16 field goals, including 2 of 4 on 3-point attempts. He also registered 11 rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one blocked shot. Kaden Sand scored 23 points to go with six assists and five boards. Luke Smith supplied 18 points and three steals while leading Bushnell with a trio of 3-point baskets. Jarrett Bryant earned 17 points and sank 8 of 10 field goals. Caoile Drayton added 12 points.

The Beacons shot 60.3% from the field (41 of 58) and converted 29 of 34 free throws (85.3%). BU achieved a 51-33 rebounding edge. Willamette forced the Beacons into 17 turnovers, while the Bearcats lost the ball 14 times.

WU trailed 5-0 just over a minute into the game, but the Bearcats went on a 12-4 run to grab a 12-9 lead. The offensive surge was completed with a three-point play by Wright on a layup and a foul shot with 16:36 left in the half.

Bushnell tacked on the next eight points for a 17-12 advantage. The Beacons led by just one point, 19-18, after Josiah Frank (Fy., G, Turlock, CA/John H. Pitman HS) of Willamette hit a 3-point basket at the 12:38 mark. BU followed with an 11-0 run to increase the margin to 30-18 with 10:03 on the clock.

The Bearcats reduced the deficit to six points at 32-26 on a 3-pointer by Coward with 7:44 remaining in the half. Bushnell kept WU from getting any closer, and the Beacons went on to build a 53-38 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Beacons held a 62-42 lead after Smith connected on a 3-point shot with 15:37 to go. WU outscored Bushnell 27-23 over the next 8:36, but the Beacons still owned an 85-69 advantage.

Willamette will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 11, in an exhibition game on the road against the University of Portland. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (PST) at the Chiles Center in Portland, Oregon.

After the exhibition with Portland, the Bearcats will be at Cone Field House on Friday, Nov. 12 against Portland Bible College at 8 p.m. The Bearcats will also play at home on Saturday, Nov. 13 against West Coast Baptist College at 1 p.m.