Bearcats Trail Portland by 9 Points at the Half before Pilots Pull Away in Exhibition

Jack Boydell of Willamette University brings the ball down the court.
Jack Boydell (Jr., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Willamette University trailed the University of Portland by just nine points at halftime, 57-48, and the Bearcats were within 79-66 with 13:05 remaining, before the Pilots pulled away for a 122-78 win in men's basketball on Thursday, Nov. 11. It was an exhibition game for the Bearcats and counted as a regular season game for Portland. The Pilots improved to 1-1 on the season, while Willamette remained 0-1.

Cedric Coward (Fy., F, Fresno, CA/Central HS) topped Willamette's chart with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. He was 8 of 16 on field goals, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, and hit 6 of 7 free throws. He played 22 minutes.

Joining Coward in double figures for the Bearcats were Jack Boydell (Jr., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) and Mason Hoffman (So., P, Sammamish, WA/Seattle Preparatory School). Boydell moved the twine for 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting, while connecting on 3 of 7 three-pointers. He also supplied WU with three rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Hoffman tallied 12 points and was 4 of 6 on 3-point attempts. Daniel Plumer (Jr., PG, North Las Vegas, NV/Democracy Preparatory Academy) contributed six points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

The Bearcats shot 42.5% from the field (17 of 40) in the first half, but slipped to 33.3% (12 of 36) over the final 20 minutes. Willamette was 12 of 35 on 3-point shots (34.3%) and made 8 of 11 free throws (72.7%). Portland connected on 59.4% of hits shots (41 of 69), while converting 11 of 20 three-pointers (55.0%). The Pilots sank 29 of 41 free throws (70.7%). One player fouled out for each team.

Eight players scored 10 or more points for Portland, led by Moses Wood and Chris Austin, each with 16 points. Wood hit 4 of 5 three-point shots and grabbed 14 rebounds. Austin was 6 for 10 from the field. Vasilije Vucinic, Mike Meadows, and Chika Nduka provided 15 points apiece. Vucinic put through all six of his field goal attempts, while Meadows and Nduka each hauled down 10 rebounds.

Willamette took a 3-2 lead on a 3-point basket by Jordan Pearce (So., P, Meridian, ID/Meridian HS). The Pilots went on an 8-2 run to move in front, 10-5, following a dunk by Austin. A bit later, Mason pulled WU within 13-12 on a 3-pointer, and Hoffman moved the Bearcats within 16-15 just under five minutes into the game on another 3-pointer.

The Pilots surged out to 23-15 advantage at the 14:07 mark after a 3-pointer by Wood and baskets by Austin and Matheus Silveira. Hoffman hit a 3-pointer eight seconds later to cut the margin to five points, but Portland held a 31-20 lead with 10:22 left in the half. The Bearcats reduced the deficit back to five points at 33-28 on a pair of free throws by Boydell with 9:04 on the clock.

Portland scored six of the next eight points for a 39-30 advantage, and remained in front by single digits, before claiming a 51-40 edge on a 3-pointer from Wood with 2:35 left. Willamette answered with a 6-1 run to pull within 52-46, but a layup by Vucinic with 28 seconds to go, and a 3-point jumper from Kristian Sjolund 15 seconds later, pushed UP's lead back to 11 points. Plumer scored on a driving layup for the Bearcats with one second left to reduce the lead to 57-48 at the break.

At the start of the second half, Portland used a 12-2 run to secure a 69-50 margin. Willamette battled back with a 16-10 run of its own to clip the deficit to 79-66 with 13:05 to play. The run by WU opened with a 3-pointer by Coward and also featured two 3-pointers from Boydell and one trifecta from Hoffman. The Pilots tacked on a 9-2 run and gradually pulled away over the remainder of the game.

The Bearcats will play again on Friday, Nov. 13, when they host Portland Bible College at Cone Field House. Game time is set for 8 p.m. (PST) following the Willamette women's basketball game against Schreiner University (Texas), which starts at 6 p.m.