GEORGE FOX 84, LINFIELD 77: Bruins Tie Record-Low Turnovers in Win over Wildcats
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Mike Taylor scored 21 points, 13 in the second half, and George Fox University tied a team record for fewest turnovers in a game with five as the Bruins rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to defeat the host Linfield College Wildcats 84-77 in Northwest Conference men's basketball action Saturday night here at Ted Wilson Gym.
The Bruins' five turnovers equaled a record previously set on Jan. 3, 2003, in a game at Whitman College. Their victory also spoiled a potential historic evening for Linfield coach Larry Doty, whose collegiate wins total remained at 324, tied with the legendary Ted Wilson for most coaching wins in Wildcat history.
George Fox took a quick 5-0 lead to start the game on a three-pointer by Anthony Sanchez and a fast-break layup by Jon Adrian, but the Wildcats caught fire, hitting 12 of their first 14 shots and five of their first six long-range attempts. Zach Anderson started a 9-0 run with a three, and the Wildcats took their first 10-point lead of 29-18 on a Zach Meikle layup at the 10:51 mark.
Anderson canned another three on his way to 18 first-half points from the top of the key to give Linfield its largest lead of 14 points at 36-22 with 8:12 left. The Wildcats slowed down after that, hitting only four of their last 10 shots as the Bruins clawed their way back into the game, out-scoring the home team 15-6 to close the period. Cam Rier keyed the rally with a pair of threes as the Bruins cut the halftime gap to 42-37.
Linfield shot .667 (16-24) in the half, including 8-12 on threes, and out-rebounded the Bruins 17-8, but a turnover differential of nine by the 'Cats to two for George Fox enabled the visitors to stay close.
David Lee hit a layup for the Wildcats to open the second half, but the Bruins reeled off seven unanswered points on two Sean Atkins layups around a three by A.J. Grant to tie it 44-44 with 17:48 left. After a Meikle free throw put Linfield back ahead, the Bruins took their first lead since the first minute of the game on a three by Adrian, who also broke a 47-47 tie for good with another three. The Bruins went on to extend the lead to 68-58 on a trey by Grant with 7:53 to play before the Wildcats tried to rally
With 6-9 center Andrew Batiuk scoring 10 straight points for his team, including a pair of threes, the Wildcats out-scored the Bruins 15-8 to climb within three at 76-73 with 2:04 left. Taylor then nailed two free throws and a jumper from the top and Grant hit two charity tosses, boosting the Bruins back to an 82-73 lead with 24 seconds left. Anderson hit a short jumper, then stole the Bruins' inbounds pass and made a layup to trim the margin to 82-77 with 13 seconds left, but Taylor added two more freebies with 11 ticks showing to secure the win for the Bruins.
Taylor hit 6-9 from the field and 8-8 from the line to lead a quartet of Bruins in double-figure scoring. Sanchez added 14, including 6-6 from the stripe, and Atkins and Grant had 12 each. Rier and Adrian nearly gave the Bruins six in double digits with nine and eight points respectively. The Bruins shot .500 (27-54) from the field, including .556 (15-27) in the second half, drained 12-25 three-pointers (.480), and sank 18-22 free throws (.818). Atkins had a team-high five rebounds, Sanchez passed out four assists, and Atkins, Sanchez, and Spencer Bolte made three steals apiece.
Anderson, the conference's leading scorer, hit his average with 22 points, Batiuk added 20, and Lee and Miekle scored 15 apiece. The Wildcats shot .588 (30-51) for the game, including .625 (10-16) from long distance, but only .583 (7-12) from the line. Batiuk's nine rebounds led the Wildcats to a whopping 35-19 advantage on the glass, but it was offset by their 15 turnovers. Cory Hendryx passed out five assists.
NEXT: George Fox (8-8, NWC 5-2) returns to action Sunday with a home match at 8:00 p.m. against Pacific Lutheran University in a game that was postponed from Friday due to severe winter weather conditions that prevented the Lutes from leaving the Puget Sound area … Linfield (3-14, NWC 1-7) hosts Pacific University Tuesday, also at 8:00 p.m. … Both games are part of NWC doubleheaders, with the women's games preceding at 6:00 p.m.