Coward Registers 8th Double-Double of Season, but WU Falls to Lutes, 81-62

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

TACOMA, Wash. -- Cedric Coward (Fy., F, Fresno, CA/Central HS) scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season, but Willamette University struggled in the second half as the Bearcats lost to Pacific Lutheran University, 81-62, in men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 8 at Olson Gymnasium. The teams were tied 34-34 at halftime.

The Bearcats, who won at the University of Puget Sound 103-86 on Friday, shot just 27.8% (10 of 36) in the second half versus PLU. The Lutes, who did not play on Friday, shot 53.1% in the second half (17 of 32). PLU improved to 8-4 on the season and to 3-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 4-8 overall, 1-3 in the NWC.

Coward continued his strong play for the Bearcats. In addition to leading Willamette in scoring and rebounding against the Lutes, he also finished with three assists, three blocked shots, and a steal. For the season, he leads Willamette with 17.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 3.8 blocks per game (45 total blocks). He is shooting 59.2% from the field.

In Saturday's game at Pacific Lutheran, Coward was joined in double figures by Jonathan Watts (Sr., W, San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS), who scored 11 points. Jack Boydell (Jr., F, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) and Kenny Wright Jr. (Jr., PG, Dallas, TX/R.L. Turner HS) each tallied nine points for the Bearcats.

Seth Hall led all players with 22 points for the Lutes. He was 7 of 15 on field goals, and also provided PLU with eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Sean McCurdy added 15 points and six boards, while Brandin Riedel scored 12 points. Jordan Thomas hauled down 11 rebounds to go along with five assists and four steals.

The Lutes claimed a 15-6 lead after Hall sank a 3-point shot with 15:02 to go in the first half. PLU was in front 19-9 just over two minutes later following a layup by Riedel, and the Lutes owned a 26-16 advantage on a 3-pointer by Brett Williams with 9:19 on the clock.

Willamette outscored the Lutes, 18-8, over the remainder of the half. A 3-pointer by Ryder Hsiung (Fy., G, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) at the 5:00 mark pulled WU within 27-23. The Bearcats tied the score at 28-28 on a 3-pointer by Wright Jr. less than a minute later. PLU grabbed a 34-30 lead with 41 seconds to play, but Willamette cut the lead to two points on a layup by Watts. After McCurdy missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, Watts grabbed the rebound and added another layup with one second on the clock.

PLU held a 42-37 margin with 16:21 remaining in the game on a layup by Thomas. Willamette countered with a 7-1 run to take a 44-43 lead at the 14:30 mark. The run included layups by Coward and Daniel Plumer (Jr., PG, North Las Vegas, NV/Democracy Preparatory Academy) plus a 3-pointer by Meelad Doroodchi (So., F, Mooresville, NC/Pine Lake Preparatory). Each team added a 3-pointer before the Lutes took the lead for good at 48-47 on a basket by Ashmore with 12:55 left.

The Bearcats trailed by just three points, 56-53, after a fast-break layup by Willamette's Terry Sherman (Fy., Lake Charles, LA/St. Louis Catholic HS) with 8:06 to go. Just over two minutes later, PLU's lead was still a modest seven points, but the Lutes outscored the Bearcats 21-9 over the final 6:33.

For the game, Pacific Lutheran shot 47.5% from the field (29 of 61). The Lutes were 8 of 22 (36.4%) from behind the 3-point line and connected on 15 of 27 free throws (55.6%). Willamette shot 35.3% on field goals (24 of 68), including 6 of 24 from 3-points range (25.0%). The Bearcats made 8 of 9 free throws (88.9%), but finished with 18 fewer free throw attempts than the Lutes.

Willamette will host George Fox University in NWC action on Friday, Jan. 14. Tipoff at Cone Field House is scheduled for 8 p.m. (PST).