SPOKANE, Wash. – Exploding for 71 second-half points, 11th-ranked Whitworth rolled to a 115-65 win over visiting La Verne in a non-conference men's basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
After making only 42% of their shots in the first half, the Pirates made 69% (31-45) after halftime to improve to 6-1. Reserve players did much of the damage for the Bucs in the second half surge.
Whitworth used a 16-2 run early in the first period to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 20-7 lead. Kyle Roach scored 11 points during the Pirate run and finished with 23 points to lead all players. La Verne cut the margin back to 35-26 on a basket by Alex Vucinich before the Pirates went to the locker room with a 44-31 lead. Whitworth built its first half advantage thanks to a defense that forced 14 turnovers, allowing the Bucs to take ten more shots than the Leopards.
Whitworth opened the second half by making 16 of its first 22 shots from the floor. Before the first media timeout, the Pirates had stretched their lead to 30 points (68-38) by outscoring La Verne 24-7 over the first six minutes of the half. Isaiah Hernandez drilled four three-pointers in that stretch.
"We really found a rhythm in the second half offensively," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "I thought we played well defensively in the first half, we just didn't convert our offensive chances and the shots didn't fall. We got into transition in the second half, which led to better shot-making."
The Whitworth bench played the final 11 minutes of the game and the Pirates were able to extend the lead further. Hernandez finished with 15 points and Sam Lees scored ten. Rowan Anderson (8) and Reed Brown (7) reached season-highs in points.
"I've been saying all year that this is a deep team and we have a lot of guys that can contribute," Logie said. "I am glad so many of these guys showed everyone else what they show the coaches every day in practice."
Whitworth ended the game 47-83 (56.6%) from the field, including 12-29 (41.4%) from beyond the arc. The Pirates finished with a 45-35 edge in rebounding, led by nine boards from Jared Christy. Christy also dished four assists to lead the team.
Evan Gustafson scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for La Verne (1-5). Isaiah Knox came off of the bench for 14 points. The Leopards finished the game 24-59 (40.7%) from the field and committed 21 turnovers.
Following last Saturday's 123-98 win over Pacific, the Pirates posted their highest back-to-back scoring outputs in school history.
Whitworth will host D'Youville College (N.Y.) on Monday night at 7:00 pm.