Wildcats win both in Bon Appetit Tipoff Classic

Joe Stuart, For the Review

The Linfield Men’s basketball team picked up both wins in their first two games of the season against their east-coast opponents in the Bon Appetit Tipoff Classic.

The Classic, which was held at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, featured the Linfield Wildcats (2-0) and fellow Northwest Conference rival Lewis and Clark Pioneers (1-1).

They were pitted against two east-coast teams, the Valley Forge University Patriots (0-2) and the Johnson and Wales University Wildcats (1-1)

In their first game on Friday, Linfield was able to beat the favored Johnson and Wales, who were one win away from winning the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference title last season, 80-74.

13 Linfield players were checked in during the game, eight of whom were in their first appearance in Linfield jerseys.

Linfield was led by transfer guard Kyle Maloof, ’17, who scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Maloof pulled down eight rebounds, also a team high.

Fellow transfer Austin Daniels, ’17, also contributed with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and hit two three-pointers, making the most of his minutes off the bench.

Johnson and Wales took control early, but Linfield was able to grab the lead with 13:57 left to play in the first half. Linfield led for the rest of the half.

Johnson and Wales was able to battle back and grabbed the lead with 8:58 left. The game remained close until Vince Romeo, ’19, hit a three with 1:57 to play, which sparked a 10-2 run for Linfield and sealed the game.

Romeo recorded seven points and had a team-leading five assists to add to his clutch play.

Linfield continued their winning ways on Saturday, easily handling Valley Forge 71-58 despite a power-outage causing a delay for more than two hours.

Maloof led the Wildcats again in the second game, scoring 12 points. Maloof turned in a strong all-around performance against the Patriots, adding three rebounds, two assists, and a steal to add to his 4-of-7 shooting.

Guard Chase Walker, ’18 also helped out, scoring 11 points. Riley Bruil, ’19, Cameron Frank, ’17, Daniels and Romeo all had at least seven points.

The large amount of team scoring is a huge turnaround from last season when the Wildcats averaged only 59.7 points per game as a team.

Linfield will have a real test in their next game when they take on Division I University of Idaho on the road over Thanksgiving break on Wednesday, November 25.