Chicago Tops Bearcats in Opening Round of Midway Classic

Josiah Frank shoots a 3-point shot.
Josiah Frank (Fy., G, Turlock, CA/John H. Pitman HS)

By Charlie McGuire, Athletics Communications Assistant

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Willamette University men's basketball team erased an early 11-2 deficit to trail, 20-19, at the midpoint of the first half on a driving lay-up by junior Daniel Plumer (Jr., PG, North Las Vegas, NV/Democracy Preparatory Academy). The University of Chicago made a strong run to finish the half and held the lead after the break to claim a 97-68 decision in the opening round of the Midway Classic on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Following a strong start from the Bearcats, the host Maroons finished the opening stanza with a 16-2 run to take a 48-26 lead at the intermission. Sophomore Jack Boydell (Jr., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) of Willamette played well on both ends of the floor, hitting 3 of 4 three-pointers, and leading the Bearcats with 13 points while recording four steals and four rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. Cedric Coward (Fy., F, Fresno, CA/Central HS) came off the bench to pull down five rebounds and tally a pair of blocked shots.

Willamette came out of halftime with an 8-2 run, capped by a steal and dunk from Boydell, to cut the deficit to 50-34 with just under 17 minutes to play. Once again, the Bearcats matched baskets through the midpoint of the half, but the Maroons continued to hold their advantage.

The Bearcats had some strong performances and were outscored by just seven points in the second half. Coward led the charge with 11 points and eight rebounds, going 5 for 5 from the free throw line. Boydell hit all five of his free throw attempts, and Plumer converted 5 of 6, as Willamette went 17 for 20 from the line in the final 20 minutes.

Boydell finished the game with a team-high 19 points, while adding seven rebounds and six steals. Coward controlled a game-high 15 rebounds to go with 13 points and three blocks. Josiah Frank (Fy., G, Turlock, CA/John H. Pitman HS) had a pair of steals and went 5 for 6 from the line to reach double figures with 12 points, while Plumer hit double-digits with 10 points on the afternoon.

Chicago improved to 3-0 on the season while the Bearcats fell to 2-2 overall. Willamette returns to action in Chicago on Sunday, Nov. 21, facing Denison University (Ohio) in a second round match-up at 10 a.m. (PST). Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) outscored Denison, 74-59, in the other first round game on Saturday.