SPOKANE, Wash. –Whitworth University held off visiting Pacific University 83-71 in a physical Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Saturday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The 8th-ranked Pirates (12-1 overall, 4-0 NWC) won a contest that included 42 foul calls and 50 total free throws. Kyle Roach scored 25 points for the second straight night.
"I thought we were more locked in on a consistent basis tonight," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "We created turnovers and took care of the basketball. We also made free throws and did the little things necessary to win."
Pacific (8-5, 2-2) led for the first minute of the game when R.J. Collins hit a three-pointer. Whitworth answered with a 9-0 run, including consecutive three-pointers by Roach, and never trailed again. A Ben College layup increased the Pirate lead to 16-5 just over five minutes into the game. The Boxers were able to get back to within 21-15 on jumper by Davis Holly and were still within 32-24 before Whitworth finished the half on an 18-10 run. Roach hit a long three-pointer at the end of the first period to give the Bucs a 50-34 lead.
Roach's layup gave Whitworth a 52-34 lead at the start of the second half, but Pacific would not go away. The Boxers closed to within 60-50 on Nate Olowo's jumper before the Pirates pulled out ahead 67-51 on Ben Bishop's free throw. Pacific had one more run, getting within 79-71 with 2:11 to play on Brevin Brown's layup. But the Boxers would only score two more points the rest of the way.
After shooting 48% in the first half, Whitworth made only 33% of its shots after halftime. But the Pirates held Pacific to only 32% from the field after the break.
Jared Christy and College, who had 15 points and 12 points, respectively, joined Roach in double figures. Garrett Hull led the Bucs with eight rebounds. Whitworth did much of its damage at the free throw line, making 26 of 31 attempts (84%), a season-high for makes.
"We still have a ton of room for growth, and we've already seen a lot of it in the last two weeks with guys adjusting to new roles," Logie said. "We've yet to play our best basketball, which is exciting."
Brown led Pacific with 17 points. Holly, Olowo and Jay Merriweather had 12 points apiece. Olowo had eight boards as the Boxers finished with a 41-37 edge in rebounding.
Whitworth will take a four game winning streak into Tuesday night's showdown at top-ranked Whitman College.