TACOMA, Wash. – A 13-2 run to open the game helped boost the Puget Sound men's basketball team to its first conference win of the season – 75-62 over Willamette. Rex Holmes scored a season-high 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting to lead the Loggers (6-7, 1-3 NWC) to the home win.
Holmes appropriately scored the first four points of the night for the Loggers, who opened the game on a 13-2 run. Holmes was responsible for six of those points during the run while Rex Nelson scored four of his 13 points to help maintain it. AJ Maw's first three-pointer of the night capped the run and the Loggers never trailed in the contest.
The Bearcats (4-7, 1-1 NWC) were not to be discouraged as the closed the gap to five points in just a minute and a half. The teams went on to trade runs in the half as Riggs Yarbro bucket with 5:34 left opened a 32-17 lead. Alex Brown helped the Bearcats answer when his layup with 1:37 left closed the lead to just 10 points and Terrell Malley's free throw slashed the lead back into single digits just before halftime.
Yarbro looked to make a statement as he finished at the rim just seven seconds into the second half. Another three from Maw pushed the lead back to 17 points but the Bearcats refused to go down. Tyler Conger's layup just three minutes later saw the lead shrink back into single digits.
The teams seemed to trade baskets over the next few minutes and the Loggers steadily grew their lead back up to 17. The Bearcats would make a small run back as Elliott Bobcock-Krenk scored all 11 of his points in the second half to keep the visitors in the game.
However, the lead stayed in double digits the rest of the way and the Loggers hung on for their first conference win.
Holmes' scored 12 of his 23 points in the second half while he also dished out a pair of assists, grabbed five rebounds and recorded four steals. Nelson finished with 13 points and six boards while Yarbro had 10 points and pulled down seven boards. Sean Dart had nine points and seven rebounds for the Bearcats.
The Loggers used a suffocating, full court defense for nearly all 40 minutes and forced 20 turnovers from the Bearcats. The Loggers also found their way inside on the offensive end with 46 points in the paint compared to 26 from Willamette.
The Loggers are out on the road for the next two weeks, starting with a trip to Linfield next Friday.