Feb 15, 2019

Bruins Get The Last Word Against Willamette In Thrilling Finish

A Winning Tradition

 
  • Three NAIA National Tournaments (1973, 1990, 1992)
  • Two NAIA District Championship (1973, 1990)
  • 22 NAIA District Tournaments
  • Three NAIA Top 25 National Rankings (1990, 1991, 1992)
  • Four Northwest Conference Tournaments (1997-1998, 2009-2010, 2012-2013, 2016-17)
  • Two Cascade Conference Tournaments (1994, 1995)
  • Two NCCAA National Tournaments (1985, 1987)
  • Seven NCCAA Regional Tournaments (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
  • One NCCAA National Coach of the Year
  • Three NAIA District Coaches of the Year
  • Two Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 17 All-Americans
  • Three NBA Draft Picks  
 

By: Seth Preuss

NEWBERG --- The George Fox men's basketball team honored their two seniors, Mason Green-Richards and Dylan Hamlett, prior to their last regular-season game against Willamette on Friday, February 15. After trailing by as many as 12 points throughout the night, the Bruins pulled out a last-second victory to keep their postseason hopes alive with a 92-91 thriller in regulation.

Recap:

The opening five minutes went poorly for the Bruins as the Bearcats pulled out to an early 14-2 lead on a dominant start from the field. The Bruins locked in after the opening five minutes on defense, however, and their shots began to fall on the other end.

Mason Green-Richards scored the Bruins' first seven points to give his team a lift, and the Bruins' aggressive zone defense began to stem the tide and slowed the Bearcats' surging offense. After trailing by 12 early, the Bruins put a 17-8 run together in the following five minutes to trim the Bearcats' lead down to a 22-19 advantage with 10 minutes left in the opening period.

By stringing together stops and scoring bursts, the Bruins were able to take their first lead, 39-37, with three minutes left in the first after a put-back by Quinn Lacey. Dylan Hamlett added five straight points to the Bruins' tally and another late burst gave George Fox a 48-42 lead at the break after outscoring Willamette 46-28 in the final fifteen minutes of the first half.

The Bearcats made adjustments and their shots began to fall after the intermission. An 18-7 run by Willamette put the Bearcats back in front, 60-55, after the first six minutes of action in the second half. The teams traded buckets and stayed locked in a five-point game through the under-12 minute media break as the Bruins trailed 64-59 with 10:39 left in regulation.

The Bruins stayed within striking distance and continued to trade shots and stops with their guests, but with just under six minutes remaining George Fox still trailed 76-72. Jackson Januik knocked down a trey from the left corner to cut that to 76-75 and Quinn Lacey came up with a statement block on the other end.

A JD Ahlstrom corner trey combined with a rolling layup by Levi Dalzell and a pair of Dalzell foul shots kept the Bruins within one, 83-82, with just under three minutes left in regulation. The Bruins continued to match the Bearcats shot for shot until the one-minute mark.

Willamette hit on a triple from the wing and the Bruins were only able to answer with a layup. Ahlstrom earned a trip to the line and hit a pair of foul shots to tie the game at 89-89 with 32.2 seconds left.

On the following possession, the Bearcats worked the clock down to under seven seconds before hitting a fadeaway skyhook for a 91-89 lead, but Ryan Lacey answered with a dagger on the other end. R. Lacey went end to end, drew contact in the line on the 10-footer, and sunk the foul shot for a 92-91 lead with 0.7 seconds remaining. After a desperation shot missed, the Bruins were able to storm the court and celebrate a 92-91 win on Senior Night.

Top Performers:

The Bruins' defense and foul shooting kept them in the game as the team went a perfect 16-16 from the charity stripe and held the Bearcat reserves to just seven points. Playing in their final home game, Green-Richards and Hamlett combined for 34 points, 12 boards, three dimes, and five steals.

What It Means:

The Bruins keep their postseason hopes alive, pending some help from other Northwest Conference opponents.

What Comes Next:

The Bruins await the results of the weekend around the conference to find out if they qualify for the No. 4 seed in the 2018-19 Conference Tournament. If Puget Sound loses to Whitworth on Saturday, the Bruins and the Loggers will be tied at 7-9 in NWC play and the Bruins own the tiebreaker. If the Bruins do qualify for the postseason, they will travel to face No. 1-seed Whitman University on Thursday, Feb. 21.