WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Seventh-ranked Whitworth rallied, but a season-low shooting night and an 18-point second half deficit were too much to overcome in a 79-65 loss at 4th-ranked Whitman on Friday night in a match-up of top-ten Northwest Conference men's basketball teams.
The Pirates shot only 37.9% from the floor and 26.3% from three-point range to fall to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the NWC. Tim Howell scored 27 points to help the Blues improve to 5-0, 2-0.
Whitman broke away in the opening half with a 13-0 run that gave the Blues a 22-6 lead. The Pirates missed five shots and turned the ball over three times while Whitman was building its 16-point margin. The Blue eventually took a 44-29 lead to halftime, shooting 54% in the opening period, including 6-9 (67%) from three-point range. Whitworth went 1-8 (12.5%) from beyond the arc in the opening period.
When Cedric Jacobs-Jones scored inside with 13:48 to go in the game, Whitman had taken its largest lead at 59-41. But Kyle Roach hit a three-pointer that sparked an 11-0 run for Whitworth. By the time Christian Jurlina ended the run with two free throws, the Bucs had cut the margin to 59-52 with just over nine minutes to play. Whitworth was still within 63-56 after another Roach basket, but Howell stemmed the tide with back-to-back scores to re-establish a double-digit margin for Whitman.
Jurlina led the Pirates with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Roach totaled 11 points before fouling out late in the contest. They were the only Whitworth players in double figures. The Bucs' shooting percentages were well-below their season averages of 49% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc.
Howell added five rebounds, three assists and three steals to his game-high point total. JoJo Wiggins contributed 15 points and Jack Stewart scored 11. Whitman finished 50% from the field, but the Blues cooled off in the second half from three-point range (0-6). Whitman ended the game with a 42-36 advantage in rebounds.
Whitworth will try to bounce back against Covenant College (Ga.) on Friday night in the Fieldhouse.