LINFIELD 61, GEORGE FOX 37: Wildcats Drop Bruins into 3-Way Tie for 4th in NWC
NEWBERG, Ore. – Racing out to an early double-digit lead and never letting up, the visiting Linfield College Wildcats thumped the George Fox University Bruins 61-37 Friday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym, dropping the Bruins into a three-way tie for fourth in the Northwest Conference men's basketball race with one game to go.
Linfield, snapping a five-game losing streak, improved to 5-19 overall and 3-12 in the NWC. George Fox, which could have secured the fourth and final spot in next week's NWC Tournament with a win, fell to 11-13 overall and 8-7 in the conference, the same league record as Pacific Lutheran University and Lewis & Clark College. PLU pounded Pacific University 78-41 and L&C downed the University of Puget Sound 78-72. Lewis & Clark visits Pacific and George Fox visits PLU Saturday in critical games for all three teams.
George Fox scored the first two points of the game on technical free throws by Mike Taylor before the game tipped off, as Linfield was whistled for dunking the ball during pre-game warmups. Once the clock started, the Wildcats tied it on a layup by Matt Kalbfleisch at the 18:40 mark, then neither team scored for nearly two more minutes. David Lee's free throw broke the tie for Linfield, and Zach Anderson hit two three-pointers around a Corey Clark basket for the Bruins to give the Wildcats a 9-4 lead with 15:56 to go in the half.
Cam Rier's layup at 15:12 pulled the Bruins within three at 9-6, but the visitors ripped off 13 unanswered points over the next six minutes to build a 22-6 lead on a layup by Ryan Dethlefs. After an Anthony Sanchez free throw with 8:41 left broke the Wildcats' string, Anderson hit two more baskets to give Linfield its largest lead of the half, 19 points, at 26-7 with 6:52 to play.
The Wildcats' halftime lead of 33-18 was built largely on the hot hand of Anderson, who hit 7-9 field goals and nearly out-scored the Bruins by himself with 17 points. Linfield shot .519 (14-27) from the field while George Fox struggled to a .207 percentage (6-29).
David Lee took over for the Wildcats by scoring six points in a row, building the Linfield lead to 39-18 two minutes into the second half. The closest the Bruins got the rest of the way was 13 points on a pair of Sean Atkins free throws that made it 41-28 with 14 minutes remaining, but the Wildcats took off on another run of 12-0 over the next eight minutes to take a 25-point lead of 53-28 following another Anderson jumper.
George Fox ended with a .222 shooting percentage (12-54) and scored the second-fewest points in a game since the 'modern era' of Bruin basketball began in 1965, when the program joined the NAIA and detailed record-keeping began. The only lower score actually came in a 33-30 win over Eastern Oregon University on Feb. 6, 1981, before the shot-clock era began. Clark was the only Bruin in double figures with 11 points, Rier and Spencer Bolte had five rebounds apiece, and Atkins had four steals and two blocked shots.
Linfield finished with a .462 percentage (24-52), led by Anderson's 9-12 from the floor and 22 points. Lee had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, as did Andrew Batiuk with 12 of each. The Wildcats owned a 50-29 advantage on the boards. Cory Hendryx passed out three assists.
NEXT: Both the George Fox at Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound at Linfield games Saturday tip off at 8:00 p.m., preceded by NWC women's games at 6:00 p.m.