By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University trailed the University of Puget Sound by two points in men's basketball when the Bearcats called timeout with 2.6 seconds left on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Cone Field House. The Bearcats already had the ball on offense and restarted play from the sideline near their bench. The play led to a 3-point shot by Jack Boydell (Grad., W, Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley HS) that bounced out at the buzzer, as Puget Sound won 88-86.
The Loggers improved to 13-10 on the season and to 9-5 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 12-10 overall, 7-7 in the NWC. Puget Sound is third in the NWC standings. The Bearcats, who are in a three-way tie for fourth place in the standings with George Fox University and Pacific University, still have a chance to qualify for the four-team NWC Tournament.
Willamette was led by Josiah Frank (Jr., G, Turlock, CA/John H. Pitman HS) with 16 points and by D'Ante Dean (Jr., F, Nassau, Bahamas/British Columbia Christian Acad./Peninsula College) who earned 12 points and 11 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double. Dean, who has scored in double figures in five of Willamette's last seven games, went 6 for 6 at the free throw line against the Loggers.
Caleb Moore (So., G, Wadley, GA/Washington County HS/Bard College) scored 15 points. He was 7 for 7 at the free throw line, and provided seven assists and three steals.
Ryder Hsiung (Jr., G, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) contributed 12 points. Kahiau Bruhn (So., W, Waimanalo, HI/Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama) tallied eight points and latched on to a career-high 10 rebounds.
Boydell earned seven points to advance his career scoring total to 1,362 points, good for ninth all-time at Willamette. He began the game tied with Jeff Novitsky (1976-80) for ninth place with 1,355 points. Boydell added one 3-pointer to extend his WU career record to 179 successful 3-pointers.
Liam Ruttledge scored 24 points for Puget Sound on 7-of-12 shooting. Ruttledge made four 3-point shots and was 6 for 6 at the charity stripe. Taj Phillips added 17 points, nine assists, and five boards for the Loggers, while Dezman Baker finished with 16 points and seven boards. Both teams grabbed 41 total rebounds.
Willamette fell behind in the early going, as the Loggers held an 11-2 lead just over three minutes into the game. Forward Hugo Rutherford scored six of the 11 points for Puget Sound in the opening surge. A bit later, PS owned a 19-7 margin after Ruttledge hit all three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point shot with 14:15 on the clock.
The Bearcats responded with a 12-4 run to pull within 23-19 on a driving layup by Moore at the 11:12 mark. Ruttledge soon followed with a 3-pointer to start a 5-1 swing for the Loggers, but Frank sank a 3-pointer for the Bearcats with 10:00 left in the half to cut the lead to 28-25.
Puget Sound regained a double-digit advantage at 35-25 on a hook shot in the paint by Baker with 7:33 to go, and eventually led 38-27. Willamette moved as close as six points at 40-34 on a traditional three-point play by Bruhn as the clock reached 3:24. The Loggers owned a 48-39 lead at halftime.
WU surged out of the locker room with a 9-0 run that ended with a 3-point shot by Hsiung to tie the score at 48-48 with 18:01 to play. Three ties and two lead changes soon followed, with Puget Sound taking a 56-54 lead on a fast-break layup by Ruttledge with 15:09 left. The Loggers remained in front until Willamette tied the score in the final minute. Puget Sound held a 74-71 lead after Bruhn put through a 3-pointer for WU with 7:25 on the clock.
A 6-0 run by the Loggers expanded the margin to 80-71, but Willamette rallied. The Bearcats pulled within 82-81 when Moore hit two free throws with 2:09 to go. The teams alternated the next three baskets, with an offensive rebound and a layup by Rutherford giving PS an 86-83 lead at the 51-second mark.
Frank tied the game at 86-86 on a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left. Phillips scored on a jumper for the Loggers with 12 seconds remaining, as Puget Sound took an 88-86 lead before hanging on for the win.
The Bearcats will play at George Fox on Friday, Feb. 16. Game time in Newberg, Oregon, is set for 8 p.m. PST.