Coward Leads WU with 22 Points, as Bearcats Down Portland Bible, 102-59

Cedric Coward goes in for a layup.
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) of Willamette University scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds, provided four assists, and registered three steals and two blocks to lead the Bearcats to a 102-59 win over Portland Bible College at Cone Field House on Friday, Nov. 12. Coward hit 8 of 8 field goals, including two 3-point shots, and sank 4 of 4 free throws. Willamette evened its record at 1-1 on the season. Portland Bible fell to 0-1.

Jack Boydell (Jr., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) provided the Bearcats with 16 points and hauled down six rebounds. He was 7 of 12 from the field, including a pair of 3-point shots. Daniel Plumer (Jr., PG, North Las Vegas, NV/Democracy Preparatory Academy) and Kenny Wright Jr. (Jr., PG, Dallas, TX/R.L. Turner HS) each contributed 11 points and two assists, with Plumer adding four rebounds and four steals.

Terry Sherman (Fy., Lake Charles, LA/St. Louis Catholic HS) supplied WU with eight points, six assists, and three assists. Ryder Hsiung (Fy., G, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) was credited with six points, six assists, and three steals. Willamette made 41 of 72 shots (56.9%) during the game, including 10 of 31 three-pointers (32.3%). The Bearcats hit 10 of 11 free throws (90.9%) and finished the game with a 39-24 rebounding margin. WU forced the Wildcats into 30 turnovers, as the Bearcats earned 21 steals.

Portland Bible was led by Tommy Pham with 16 points and seven rebounds. Rudy Massaad added 14 points, six boards, and four assists for the Wildcats, while Nalu Kanalulu accumulated 11 points and four rebounds. The Wildcats shot 45.3% for the game (24 of 53), but made just 28.6& of their free throw attempts (4 of 14) and shot 7 for 13 (53.8%) at the free throw line.

The Wildcats led the Bearcats early in the game, including 13-7 with 15:32 remaining in the half following two free throws by Pham. Willamette made several substitutions about a minute before Pham's shot, and the change soon led to a surge by the Bearcats.

A 3-pointer by Coward at the 14:12 mark pulled WU within 15-12. The Bearcats moved within three points three more times, before cutting the margin to a single point at 21-20 on a jump shot by Boydell with 10:38 left in the half. Elijah Sanford-Wilson scored next on a driving layup for Portland Bible, but Willamette countered with a layup by Wright Jr., a 3-pointer by Mason Hoffman (So., P, Sammamish, WA/Seattle Preparatory School), and a fast-break layup by Hsiung to take a 27-23 lead with 6:28 on the clock.

"I thought the entire game turned around with the defensive energy of our bench," Willamette Head Men's Basketball Coach Kip Ioane said. "Terry Sherman and Paul McSlarrow played with a ton of juice and that spread to our whole roster."

Massaad hit a 3-point shot for PBC to stop WU's run and move the Wildcats within one point. Willamette responded held a 33-25 lead after Hsiung connected on a 3-pointer with 5:09 left. A bit later, after the Wildcats had reduced the margin to two points, Wright Jr. sank a floating jump shot in the paint to open a 17-3 run for the Bearcats. WU led 50-34 at the halftime break.

Plumer scored the first points of the second half on a driving layup just 14 seconds into the period. A pair of free throws by Pham cut the margin to 52-36 before the Bearcats tallied seven unanswered points for a 59-36 lead at the 17:36 mark. Coward began the run with a layup and completed the run with a 3-point basket.

Willamette gradually pulled away over the remainder of the game. The lead reached 69-41 on a fast-break layup by Dylan Green (Fy., F, Lakewood, CO/Green Mountain HS) with 13:6 left, and WU held an 84-47 advantage on an offensive rebound and layup by Meelad Doroodchi (So., F, Mooresville, NC/Pine Lake Preparatory) with 8:07 to go.

The Bearcats will play at Cone Field House again on Saturday (Nov. 13) against West Coast Baptist College. Game time against the Eagles is set for 1 p.m. (PST).