A lay-up by Brenden McCullough of visiting Willamette, who scored his lone basket with 6.5 seconds, was just enough to lead the visiting Bearcats to a 70-69 win over Pacific University on Saturday in Forest Grove.
The Bearcats (3-14, 1-7 NWC) snapped a seven-game losing streak in the win, who overcame a 15-point deficit for the win. Casey Thornton led the visitors with 16 points including four 3-pointers, plus Nico Troplent and Jordan Jenkins each added 14.
Pacific (9-7, 3-5 NWC) had three players in double figures including junior J.B. Ewell (Portland, Ore.), who had a game-high 20 points to lead Pacific. Freshman Davis Holly (Bend, Ore.) and senior K.C. Harrison (Las Vegas, Nev.) added 16 and 11 points, respectively. The seven losses for the Boxers have come at an average of 7.3 points per contest, including three one-point defeats.
The Boxers held a 15-point lead, 56-41, when senior D.J. Christian (East Atlanta, Ga.) made a lay-up with 10:02 left to play. A resilient Willamette squad failed to concede and rallied to take its first lead, 68-66 with :48 to play, after three-consecutive 3-pointers since the 10:00 mark of the opening half.
Down two, three-straight points including a jumper by Ewell put the Boxers ahead 69-68 with :19 left to play. After a timeout, in a scramble in front of the Willamette basket McCullough scooped up the ball and laid it in for what proved to be the difference in the game. The Boxers came up short despite having a pair of chances in the final seconds.
Next up for the Boxers is a trip back to Tacoma to face Pacific Lutheran on Friday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.