The Bears bounced back from a season-early loss on Wednesday with an 86-61 win over Northwest. Graduate replacement Ryan Betley had a game-high of 14 points and overall, the Eagles shot up 50.8% of the quarter compared to 37.9%. The game was not close enough to mark the score, however, and the Bears were guided by 37 points.
Call decided to change its starting lineup after disappointing the state of Oregon. Joel Brown, Grant Antishevich and Lars Thieman were replaced by McCauley Foreman, Guani Guani and DJ Thorpe. This change of lineup was initially effective because the biggest size of the leg was a 10-3 lead in which all starters except Betley hit at least one basket.
Betley continued his hot shoot as the blue and gold lead extended to 8 from the Oregon State game. The highlight of the half came when freshman Monty Bowser pushed the foundation down and sank on Daniel Sharp in the Northwest for his second career college basket.
Foot defense was intense in the first half: it was forced to shoot only 27% from the northwest field and 25% from the third. This suffocation led to several easy fast breaks, including three free throws to junior forward Andre Kelly, which gave the Bears a 20-7 lead for 10 minutes. Kelly’s back-to-back hook shots extended the leg lead to 17, and a Petley 3-pointer helped the Eagles to a quick 27-7 deficit to lift the score. Northwest Junior Constable J.R. Delcado took a step, with Bulb completing three runs for 16 and reducing the lead to 19.
Pierce’s size advantage was in the whole scene as they outscored the Eagles by half from 24 to 18. Northwest was pushed into several competing jumpers rather than getting easy shots on the edge. Not only did the Eagles struggle to move to the free-throw line, they were also unable to use the rare opportunity in free points, missing each of their four free throw attempts in the first half.
Despite entering the half with a lead of 41-21, it was not in favor of the call-up. Pierce was a little careless with the ball, turning it over eight times, the Eagles turning it over more than five times. However, Pierce’s shooting improved again after a poor performance against Oregon. They shot three to 40% north and made more than half of their shots in the first 20 minutes of action. Junior defender Matt Bradley had just 5 points but managed to score 41 half-time points which was a huge advantage for the quarter. If you get constant offense from supporting actors, it’s hard to beat the leg.
The second half started with all the offense, no security issue. Pierce and the Eagles initially traded easy baskets, which had a wide-open system for the Sophomore Forward Quany with the help of Bradley. When Bradley withdrew an attack, he shifted the pace in favor of the quarter, which added him to the first half.
Bradley then missed two attempts, but continued to possess the next one, where he missed another free throw. Junior Standout then left the court with a cut on his leg. Foreman and Betley showed three men who tried to extend the lead to 26, so the Bears didn’t let their star’s injury affect them. Fortunately, the foot, Bradley’s injury was not serious, as the junior returned to the game and even attempted a setback dunk.
Throughout the match Pierce scored in a variety of fashions. From Kelly Spin Laps to Foreman and a reverse lay-ins, the Eagles have no answer to foot offense. Bradley clearly learned from the Oregon State game because he played more team ball with several extra passes against Northwest instead of forcing his shot back.
The Eagles ’solid second-half start was quickly broken as their deficit rose from 20 points to 36 after a back-to-back setback by Timon – but the game was already over. Late in the second half of the fast break, the foreman threw the court and caught it to Bowser who came from behind, scoring his second highlight of the game to finish the Eagles better.
The Northwest will certainly not be the toughest enemies the Bears will find themselves against this season, but the first win always points a step in the right direction.
Tom Eisenberg covers men’s basketball. Contact him [email protected].