Basketball rides win streak to league-leading record

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Nathan Herde

Senior Max Lommen rises above defenders.

JJ Anderson , Staff Writer

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Riding a five game winning streak and seeking revenge for their lone loss of the season, Linfield men’s basketball took down rival George Fox on Friday and Saturday, winning 91-79 and 82-69, respectively. 

After a high-scoring 106-102 loss to GFU in their 2021 season opener, the ‘Cats have now rallied off seven consecutive victories, six of which were by double figures. Now, the Wildcats lead the Northwest Conference with a record of 7-1. 

Sophomore Carson Bonine goes up for the shot. (JJ Anderson )

Coming into Friday, Linfield was averaging a staggering 101.5 points and 22.7 assists per game. Those marks place the Wildcats at second in the country in both categories. 

While they didn’t put up 100 points versus the Bruins in either game, Linfield’s offense was firing on all cylinders from the tip, only trailing for two minutes and 35 seconds over the two games. 

In Friday’s game in Ted Wilson Gymnasium, the Wildcats established themselves inside early, racking up 50 points in the paint.

Coming into Friday night shooting a staggering 43.1% from behind the 3-point line, Linfield knocked down 6 of 19 3-pointers on the night. They made up for it at the free throw line, connecting on 19 of 23 attempts.

Leading the way for the Wildcats was senior Dempsey Roggenbuck with a game-high 22 points. Roggenbuck, now named NWC Basketball Player of the Week three consecutive times this season, has averaged an astonishing 30 points per game. 

Another contributing factor Friday’s win was the ‘Cats ability to win the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Bruins 47-30. The effort led to the Wildcats accumulating 25 second chance points, compared to the Bruins two points.

Junior Aaron Baune turned in a double-double performance of 19 points and 12 rebounds. 

Senior Ryan Lacey and freshman James Moore had 16 points apiece to lead the Bruin offense.

Senior Will Burghardt maneuvers around defenders. (Nathan Herde)

Saturday night’s matchup in Newberg saw a relatively similar outcome. 

After a layup by junior Kalu Stricklen put the Bruins up 5-4 with 17:35 left in the first half, Linfield went on a 7-0 run and never looked back, going on to win the game 82-69.

Leading the way once again for the Wildcats, Roggenbuck finished with a game-high 29 points, making 10 of 15 from the field and landing an efficient 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. The senior grabbed eight rebounds as well. 

Connecting on four 3-pointers, senior Max Lommen finished with 16 points and tacked on eight rebounds. 

Unlike Friday night when the ‘Cats only coughed up the ball eight times, they committed 19 turnovers on Saturday, resulting in 18 points for the Bruins. On the flip side, Linfield capitalized 20 forced turnovers, scoring 31 points the other way. 

Next up, the Wildcats will travel to Salem to play at Willamette on April 16 and will then turn around to host the Bearcats on April 17.