Thursday: Blues, Blazers bounced

Kylie Towry scored 21 points for Willamette in the Bearcats' NWC semifinal win over Whitman on Thursday night.
File photo by Willamette athletics

Willamette beat Whitman for the second time in a week, this time knocking the Blues out of the NWC tournament while Gustavus Adolphus ousted St. Benedict in the MIAC playoffs.

Willamette held Whitman 23 points below its scoring average on 33 percent shooting, and the Bearcats advanced to the NWC final with a 55-52 victory. Willamette's Kylie Towry scored 15 of her 21 points in the first half, and the Bearcats took an 11-point lead into the lockerroom. The Blues came all the way back to take the lead 52-50 with 1:16 left in the game on Casey Poe's layup, but Willamette answered immediately with a jumper by Drew Farmer and a three-pointer by Ashley Evans. Whitman missed a jumper on its ensuing possession and didn't get another shot.

The Bearcats will head to George Fox for the NWC title game. The Bruins easily defeated Lewis and Clark in the other semifinal game, 80-41.

Niki Foken shot 8-for-12 for St. Benedict, but the rest of the Blazers only made 12 field goals combined, and Gustavus Adolphus topped the Blazers 61-53. Mikayla Miller notched 13 points and seven rebounds for the Gusties, who will try to break through in the MIAC final against St. Thomas. The Tommies scored the first 10 points of the game against St. Mary's (Minn.) and cruised past the Cardinals 65-44.

St. Benedict should be in good position to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and Whitman will also have a chance, depending on how the rest of the playoffs shake out.

Christopher Newport and Marymount had no trouble dispatching their opponents in the CAC semifinals. After losing to York (Pa.) in the regular season finale, Christopher Newport routed the Spartans 93-69 as five players scored double figures for the Captains, led by Micah Maloney with 16 points. Marymount stifled Mary Washington 50-31 as the Saints forced 21 turnovers and only allowed 10 field goals.

UW-Oshkosh will get another crack at UW-Whitewater in the WIAC tournament final after the Titans went on the road and beat UW-La Crosse 56-48. Isabella Samuels posted a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) for Oshkosh. UW-Whitewater held off UW-Eau Claire 74-68 as Brooke Trewyn and Sarah Schumacher scored 16 points apiece for the Warhawks.

After splitting their regular season games, Chapman and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will get a rubber match in the SCIAC tournament finale. Lucy Criswell scored 31 points and Chapman eased past Cal Lutheran 75-52. Claremont used a 29-8 bench scoring advantage to get past Redlands 69-65.

The ASC and ODAC tournaments kicked into high gear with four games each on Thursday. ASC host Texas-Dallas advanced with an 86-56 win over Hardin-Simmons. The Comets will play East Texas Baptist on Friday since the Tigers shut down Howard Payne 50-36. In the ODAC quarterfinals sixth seed Virginia Wesleyan surprised three seed Lynchburg 61-51 as the Marlins starting back court combined for 49 points.

In men's action Ohio Northern shot 63 percent in the second half and defeated Marietta 94-88 in the OAC semifinals. The Polar Bears' dynamic duo of Nate Burger and Ryan Bruns combined for 56 points as Burger went 14-for-25 with five made 3-pointers. John Carroll will host ONU in the tournament final on Saturday. The Blue Streaks jumped out to a 25-2 lead on rival Baldwin Wallace and never looked back in a 93-72 victory.

Whitman and Whitworth played two very entertaining games in the regular season, and they'll get at least one more on Saturday night in the NWC tournament title game. The Blues shook off gritty Linfield 87-76 despite 31 points from Linfield freshman Dempsey Roggenbuck. Tim Howell, who was named the conference player in the year earlier in the day, scored 23 points. Whitworth short-circuited Puget Sound buzz saw offense in a 97-79 win over the Loggers. The Pirates will play in their 15th consecutive NWC title game.

Fitchburg State scored the biggest upset of the conference playoffs so far, as the Falcons eliminated top-seed and nationally ranked Salem State from the MASCAC tournament, 90-81. The Falcons (13-14) had six players score double figures led by Jonathan Perez who scored 20 off the bench. Salem State dropped to 20-4 and likely out of the NCAA Tournament picture. The Vikings will sit behind no fewer than six at-large candidates in the Northeast region alone.

The IIAC continued its sixth seed magic as Central went on the road and upset Loras 113-108 in the IIAC semifinals. Jamel McKnight led the Dutch (12-15) with 31 points. Central will try to become the second consecutive sixth seed to win the IIAC conference tournament, following Wartburg which did so last year. The Knights' tournament title defense ended at the hands of top-seeded Nebraska Wesleyan, 94-77. The Prairie Wolves' win is the first for a home team in the IIAC tournament in nine games.