Willamette Claims 108-101 in Opener of Calvin Tipoff Tournament
Friday, November 18, 2011
The first game of the Calvin Tip-off Tournament turned into a shootout as the D’Youville College Spartans (Buffalo, NY) and Willamette University Bearcats (Salem, OR) fought for a spot in the tournament championship.
Just eight minutes into the game, Willamette held a 20-15 lead. D’Youville relied heavily on senior guard Raysean Johnson early in the game, as Johnson scored 11 of their first 22 points. Despite being constantly beat on defense by a strong Willamette team, the Spartans were able to stick with the Bearcats using a fast-paced, fast-break oriented offense. The teams would stay close until halftime, with Willamette ahead 48-45 at the break.
Coming out of the break, Willamette would use the full-court press, forcing D’Youville into a number of turnovers. The Bearcats would use those turnovers to push their lead to ten just a few minutes into the second half. With 13:58 remaining, Willamette would push their lead to 71-55 as they would turn some quick points off poor shooting by the Spartans.
With just over eight minutes to go, a scoring run by Spartan freshmen Jeff Curry brought Willamette to within six. Down 13 points, Curry was able to draw a foul while scoring to earn an “and one.” He would hit the free throw, then follow that up with a steal on the next possession with a lay-up. After stopping Willamette on defense, Curry would hit a jumper on the next possession to bring the score to 88-82.
Raysean Johnson, a few possessions later, would continue his strong night of scoring for D’Youville as he would earn an “and one”, hitting the shot and the free throw to bring his scoring total to 34, a new Tip-Off Tournament record. Johnson’s three point play would bring the score to 95-93 Willamette, the closest D’Youville had been since halftime. Unfortunately for the Spartans, that would be as close as they would come as the Bearcats would build their lead to a final 108-101.
In the loss, D’Youville was lead by Raysean Johnson, who scored 36 points and had five rebounds. Johnson’s 36 was both a Tip-Off Tournament scoring record and a Van Noord Arena scoring record. D’Youville moves to 0-1 on the season.
The victorious Bearcats were lead on offense by a pair of seniors, Taylor Mounts and Ryan Meehan. Mounts recorded a double-double, leading Willamette with both 25 points and 13 rebounds. Meehan added 23 points for the Bearcats while grabbing seven boards. Willamette moves to 1-0 on the season, and looks forward to Saturday afternoon when they will face the winner of the Calvin-Grace Bible nightcap.