SPOKANE, Wash. – It will be the Northwest Conference against the Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference this weekend when the Whitworth men's basketball team hosts the Quality Inn Whit Classic. The Pirates, along with fellow NWC member Whitman, will battle Texas Lutheran University and Schreiner University, both members of the SCAC, on Friday and Saturday. The Pirates' games will be heard live in Spokane on KSBN 1230am.
Watch the Whitworth men's basketball schedule for other live links to this weekend's game.
Food Drive: Whitworth is offering admission to the tournament for any fans bringing non-perishable food items to the Fieldhouse. Each individual gains entrance with the donation of two items, which are being gathered to support the Q6 Hometown Harvest.
Quality Inn Whit Classic Schedule:
5:00 PM Whitman vs. Schreiner
7:00 PM Whitworth vs. Texas Lutheran
5:00 PM Texas Lutheran vs. Whitman
7:00 PM Schreiner vs. Whitworth
The Pirates: Whitworth opened the season with a 70-69 win over St. Olaf College last Saturday. The Pirates trailed only once in the game after the Oles scored the first basket of the contest. The game was tied only once as well when St. Olaf hit a three pointer with under two minutes to play to knot the score at 66-66. In between Whitworth led by as many as 12 points early in the contest (21-9) and by 6-8 points for most of the second half. After the Oles tied the game, Drew Sears scored on a layup off of Kenny Love's 12th assist. Then Kyle Roach stole a pass on St. Olaf's next possession and Love drained two free throws with 4.8 seconds to play. The Oles hit a running three-pointer as time expired.
Roach led Whitworth with a career-high 20 points on 7-12 shooting. Derek Isaak added 13 points and Christian Jurlina scored ten. Sears was a force on defense, finishing with a career-high seven blocked shots. Love's 12 assists were also a career-best total.
The Opponents: Texas Lutheran, located in Seguin, is coming off of a 21-7 season and an appearance in the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament after the Bulldogs won the 2015-16 SCAC title. In the off-season Jimmy Smith resigned as coach at TLU to take a position at NCAA DI Sam Houston State. The Bulldogs hired Mike Wacker, who was a very successful high school coach for 26 years and Wacker is off to a 3-0 start. TLU opened with an 87-84 home win over Mary Hardin-Baylor. Then the Bulldogs took a trip to Abilene where they defeated McMurry (80-72) and Hardin-Simmons (90-66). The HSU game was a rematch of last year's NCAA first round contest. Senior guard Sterling Holmes is TLU's star. He was a 2016 NABC All-American (2nd Team) after averaging 16.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. So far this season he is averaging 25.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Whitworth and Texas Lutheran have never played in men's basketball.
Schreiner, from Kerrville, Texas, is 0-3 in the early going this season. The Mountaineers lost their season opener to Sul Ross State (82-77), then took the same trip to Abilene as TLU. They lost 93-72 to HSU and 91-82 at McMurry. Schreiner finished 10-15 overall and 4-10 in the SCAC last year. Senior guard Jared Thompson is averaging 15.3 points per game and making 57% (8-14) of his three-pointers so far this year. Fellow guard Keenan Gumbs, a junior, has also started three games and averaged 8.0 points and 2.1 assists. Whitworth and Schreiner have never played in men's basketball.
NWC Title Favorites: Whitworth is picked first in the 2016-17 NWC Coaches Poll. The Pirates have claimed seven consecutive NWC regular season titles and nine in the last ten years. Whitworth has won a total of 18 NWC crowns since rejoining the league in 1982. Last year the Pirates became the first team in league history to win seven straight NWC championships in men's basketball.
On the Air Again: Whitworth's games will once again be carried live this season on KSBN 1230am in Spokane. The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 22 years. Bud Nameck is the new voice of Whitworth basketball. The co-host of 920 KXLY radio's Morning News, Nameck has more than 30 years of experience calling college basketball at Gonzaga University and Washington State.
National Ranking: Whitworth opened the season ranked 12th in the D3hoops.com preseason top-25 poll. It is the eighth year in a row that the Pirates have been ranked in the D3hoops.com preseason poll. The first regular season ranking is usually released the week after Thanksgiving.
Team Captains: The members of the Whitworth basketball team and coaching staff have voted all four seniors – Derek Isaak, Christian Jurlina, Kenny Love, and Drew Sears as captains for the 2016-17 season. It is Love's second year as a captain.
20 By 11: Last season Whitworth extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to 11 in a row. Prior to this current streak, the most 20-win seasons in a row the Pirates had ever had was two (on three different occasions). Only Wooster (OH) with 19 and WPI (MA) with 13 have longer current runs of consecutive 20-win seasons in NCAA Division III men's basketball.
More Than A Decade of Dominance: Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season the Pirates are 269-49 (.846) over the last 11+ years, an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level. Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 118 of its last 124 (.952) – including the 14 wins from the last seven NWC tournaments.
Home-Sweet-Home: Whitworth has been stellar in the Whitworth Fieldhouse since the 1990's. Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 136-12 (.919) at home. During the decade of the 1990s and 2000's the Pirates won more than 84% of their games played at home.
The Pirates have had two home-court winning streaks of more than 40 games since 1990. A 41-game home court winning streak from early 2009 until December of 2011 was the second-longest in Pirate history. The school record for consecutive home victories is 43, beginning during the 1994-95 season and ending during the 1997-98 season.
Road Warriors: As good as Whitworth is at home, the Pirates have been almost as good away from the Whitworth Fieldhouse during Matt Logie's tenure as head coach. Since the start of the 11-12 season, Whitworth is 57-11 (.838) away from home, 44-9 (.830) in true road games.
Showing Some Love: It looks like it could be another big season for senior guard Kenny Love. Love, a two-time Northwest Conference honoree, has been picked to the 2016-17 D3hoops.com Preseason All-American team (honorable mention). He has also been voted as a team captain for the second year in a row.
Love was a First Team All-NWC honoree for the second straight year in 2015-16, despite missing four games to an eye injury in December. He averaged 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Love made 41.2% of his three-pointers and 81.8% of his free throws. He scored a career-high 28 points in Whitworth's win over Calvin College on December 29th, leading to a selection as the D3hoops.com Classic MVP and NWC Player of the Week, and he was the leading scorer with 23 points in the Pirates' victory over PLU in the NWC tournament championship game.
Love was the NWC Player of the Year, a First Team All-Region selection and a Third Team All-American (NABC) as a sophomore in 2014-15. He averaged 11.9 points per game overall, but he averaged a team-best 14.7 points per game against NWC foes. He ranked third in the league that season in three-point percentage (45.1%) and was the Pirates' leader in assists per game (2.7).
Aussie Aussie: Christian Jurlina, a senior from Sydney, Australia, is heading into his third straight year as a Pirate starter in 2016-17. He currently ranks 14th on Whitworth's all-time scoring list with 1,139 points.
He claimed his second straight First Team All-NWC award last season. He scored 14.6 points per contest and added 5.4 rebounds per game. Jurlina scored 27 points in a victory over Lewis & Clark on December 4th and on January 15 and 16 he led Whitworth win wins over Willamette and George Fox, averaging 19.0 points and 8.0 rebounds to earn the NWC Player of the Week honor.
Jurlina became a First Team All-NWC honoree as a sophomore, leading the Pirates in scoring at 14.8 points per game. He made 44.3% of his shots from the field and 41.4% of his three-pointers. He also worked hard on the defensive end, leading the team in steals (54) and in rebounding (5.4 rpg). He was the NWC Player of the Week on December 29th for his work in Whitworth's wins over Marian (Wis.) and Wells (N.Y.).
As a freshman Jurlina was named the NWC men's basketball Player of the Week on February 3rd after a breakout weekend in wins over Willamette and Pacific. He averaged 10.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game to rank third on the team in both categories. He was one of only two first-year players on the 2014 All-NWC list, earning honorable mention honors.
The Sears Tower: Bad news for Whitworth opponents in 2016-17: senior post Drew Sears grew an inch and a half since last season and is now officially seven feet tall. He used all of that height while batting away a career-high seven shots in the season opener.
Sears established himself as a dominating post player in the NWC as a junior, making 64.2% of his shots from the floor to lead the conference. He also led the league in blocked shots per game (2.3) by a wide margin. He averaged 7.8 points per game and led the team with 16 points in the NWC semifinal win over Puget Sound. He set his career-high of 17 points in the win over Pacific on February 6th.
Coming up next: Whitworth will begin Northwest Conference play early this season. The Pirates will play at Willamette University on Saturday, December 3rd, then at Whitman on Tuesday, December 6th.
The Coach: Matt Logie leads NCAA Division III in winning percentage by active coaches with at least five years of experience. Logie heads into the 2016-17 season with a record of 126-20 and a winning percentage of .863 over his first five seasons at Whitworth. He also accomplished what no other coach had ever done in NCAA Division III history – win 100 games in his first four seasons as a head coach. He is a three-time NWC Coach of the Year honoree, earning the award in 2012, 2014 and 2015. He is 83-7 against the NWC, counting each of the last five conference tournaments. Logie has guided several players to post-season honors in his four seasons, including Third Team NABC All-America recognition for George Valle (2016), Kenny Love (2015) and Dustin McConnell (2014). Logie has been a finalist for the Glen Robinson Division III men's basketball Coach of the Year award twice in his career (2016 and 2013)
Logie previously worked eight seasons as an assistant coach at Lehigh University (Pa.), his alma-mater. He also spent a season as an assistant coach at Kent State. In 2010 Logie was named as the top Patriot League Assistant Coach in men's basketball in a Foxsports.com Coaches Poll and in 2011 he was recognized as one of the top 50 assistants in Mid-to-Low Major college basketball by Hoopscoop on-line magazine. Logie is originally from Mercer Island, Washington where he won a pair of state basketball championships while playing for his grandfather, Ed Pepple, a legend in Washington's high school ranks who won 952 games and four state titles in 49 years of coaching.