SPOKANE, Wash. – Exploding for 70 second half points, Whitworth University ran away from visiting Pacific University in a 123-98 Northwest Conference men's basketball win on Saturday night.
The 14th-ranked Pirates tied a school record for points in a game and set school marks for field goal percentage (68.5%) and assists (41) to improve to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the NWC.
"Obviously when you play against a pressing team you need to take care of the basketball and you will get good percentage shots," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "We got a little sloppy late in the first half, but really tightened things up in the second half and played well."
Whitworth never trailed and the game was tied only once (3-3), when Pacific's Davis Holly answered College's game-opening trey. The Pirates quickly stretched the lead to 14-5 on Ben Bishop's basket and eventually led 39-21 after a three-point play by Isaiah Hernandez 12 minutes into the game. After making 16 of its first 19 shots from the floor, Whitworth lost some focus and committed eight turnovers in the final eight minutes of the first half, allowing the Boxers to cut the margin to 53-44 at halftime.
Whitworth opened the second half with three straight three-pointers, including two by College, to retake a 17-point margin. Pacific got back within 70-60 on a three-ball by Ethan Moss, but would get no closer. When Sam Lees scored inside with 12:18 to play, Whitworth had taken its first 20-point lead (90-69). The Bucs stretched their lead to 30 (113-83) on a Jordan Lester fast break layup with 5:39 to go. The largest margin was 32 points (119-87) two minutes later.
College went 6-11 from three-point range and added a career-high nine assists. Roach went 9-12 from the field. Lester had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Bishop scored 17 to come within a point of his career-high. Lees scored 14 points off the bench. Jared Christy led Whitworth's dominant effort on the boards with 17 rebounds. The Pirates outrebounded the Boxers 52-32.
Holly led Pacific with 22 points, going 6-7 from beyond the arc. Marcus Wallace added 16 points and five rebounds while Gage Shelmidine had 14 off the bench. The Boxers made 42% of their shots (38-91).
Whitworth had two good chances at breaking the school scoring record, but missed a pair of layup opportunities in the final minute. The Bucs previously scored 123 points in a win over Northwest College during the 1987-88 season.
Whitworth consistently broke the Pacific press in the second half, allowing the team to finish with 41 assists on 50 made shots, setting the school record for assists in a game.
The Pirates will return to action next Saturday with a non-conference game against the University of La Verne.