SALEM, Ore. – Christian Jurlina and Kyle Roach combined for 53 points to lead 8th-ranked Whitworth to a 99-72 win over Alma College in a neutral-site game at Willamette University on Wednesday afternoon.
Jurlina scored 28 and Roach added 25 as the Pirates (8-1) drained 15 of 25 shots (60%) from beyond the arc against the Scots (3-6), the defending champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Alma never led and the game was tied only once at 12-12 when Chase Fairchild hit a three-pointer for the Scots. Leading 20-19, the Pirates used a 9-0 run to open their first double-digit lead of the game. Roach and Jurlina scored all nine points. Alma was still within 37-30 after a three-pointer by Trevor Gernaat with six minutes to go in the opening half, but Whitworth closed the first period on an 18-6 run to take a 55-36 lead into the locker rooms.
The Pirates shot 22-27 (59.5%) from the field in the opening half, 10-15 (67%) from beyond the arc. While the Scots held a 19-16 edge on the boards, Alma committed 10 turnovers while Whitworth gave the ball away only once. Roach scored 20 of his points in the opening half, finishing 4-4 from three-point range. Jurlina had 17 points at halftime.
Whitworth never allowed Alma to make a strong second half run. After the Pirates had stretched the lead to 82-53 on a pair of Benjamin Nick free throws with 9:32 to go, the Scots managed to pull within 85-66 with 6:48 to go. But Jurlina answered with five straight points and Whitworth closed out the game with a 14-6 run.
Derek Isaak added 11 points for the Bucs. Whitworth ended the game 39-70 (55.7%) from the floor, dishing a season-high 20 assists, led by five from Kenny Love. The Pirates forced 22 Alma turnovers while committing only seven, off-setting a 40-34 rebounding deficit.
Gernaat led the Scots with 19 points and Fairchild finished with 17. Alma shot 27-65 (41.5%) from the field, 15-39 (38.5%) from three-point range.
Whitworth will now take a holiday break before returning to action on December 30th against Buena Vista (Iowa) in a tournament at Whitman College in Walla Walla.