7th-ranked Pirates Headed to Oregon

7th-ranked Pirates Headed to Oregon

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball returns to the road this week for a pair of tough Northwest Conference match ups.  The Pirates will play at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon on Friday at 8:00 pm.  Then the Bucs will take on Linfield College on Saturday in McMinnville at 6:00 pm.  Both of Whitworth's games will be broadcast live in Spokane on KSBN 1230 am and on the internet at KSBN.net.

Watch the Whitworth men's basketball schedule for other live links to this week's games.

The Pirates:  7th-ranked Whitworth is 13-2 overall and 5-1 in the NWC heading into the weekend.

Whitworth led for the first 30 minutes of last Tuesday's game at top-ranked Whitman, but the Blues took advantage of Pirate foul trouble and outscored the Bucs 34-14 over the final ten minutes, winning 91-75. Kyle Roach finished with a game-high 21 points for the Pirates, but he picked up his third and fourth fouls with about 12 minutes to play and Whitworth lost its lead soon after he went to the bench. The Pirates struggled from three-point range (2-13), but went 23 of 44 on their two-point attempts. Whitworth also finished with a 46-37 edge in rebounding, thanks in part to Jared Christy's sixth double-double of the season (10 points, 13 rebounds). Ben College added 16 points and Ben Bishop totaled 11 points and seven rebounds. Whitworth was ultimately doomed by a season-high 29 turnovers. The Pirates have now dropped six straight games to the Blues.

The Pirates led from the beginning of Saturday's 89-77 win over George Fox, but had trouble putting the Bruins away.  Whitworth built a 15-point lead in the first half and a 17-point margin early in the second, only to see GFU rally each time.  The Bucs finally rebuilt a 17-point margin with two minutes left to secure the win.  Kyle Roach scored a career-high 32 points, 27 of which came in the second half.  Sam Lees came off the bench for 15 points, making 7-11 shots from the field.  Garrett Hull scored 13 points and sparked the Pirates by making three straight three-pointers in the opening minutes.  Ben College had 11 points and five assists, while Jared Christy posted his seventh double-double of the year with 10 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.

The Opponents:  Willamette University comes into the weekend 8-7 overall and 3-3 in the NWC.  The Bearcats won twice last week, running away from PLU 80-49 on Friday night in Tacoma, then dominating Pacific 83-67 at home on Saturday.  Willamette leads the NWC in rebound margin (+5.2) and ranks second in blocks per game (3.1).  Junior forward Jordan Jenkins averages 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.  Senior wing Nico Troplent adds 11.6 points, while senior guard Brendon McCullough scores 11.1 points per contest.  Head coach Kip Ioane is in his ninth season with the Bearcats.  Whitworth swept Willamette last season, winning 91-79 in Salem and 77-55 at home in Spokane.  The Pirates have won the last 15 games against the Bearcats.

Linfield College heads into Friday night's game against #1-ranked Whitman 11-3 overall and 5-1 in the NWC, tied with Whitworth for second place.  The Wildcats have won four in a row and are 5-1 at home this season.  Last week Linfield won 65-58 at Lewis & Clark on Friday night, then defeated Puget Sound 86-75 at home in a key conference battle.  The Wildcats have the best scoring defense in the conference, allowing 68.1 points per game under fifth-year head coach Shanan Rosenberg.  Senior center Jordan Clark is a focal point with averages of 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.  Freshman guard Dempsey Roggenbuck adds 10.3 points per contest.  Junior guard Riley Bruil averages 8.7 points while making 45.5% of his three-pointers.  Whitworth defeated Linfield three times in 2016-17.  The Pirates won 87-81 at home during the regular season, then defeated the Wildcats 79-63 on the road.  Whitworth beat Linfield a third time, 76-64, at home during the NWC tournament.  The Pirates have won the last 19 games in the series.

National Ranking:  The Pirates fell from 3rd to 7th in the latest D3hoops.com top-25 poll on Monday night (Jan. 15) following last week's setback at #1-ranked Whitman.  Whitworth has appeared in 143 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 42 regular season polls in a row, the second-longest streak in Division III behind Marietta (Ohio).   

Team Captains: The members of the Whitworth basketball team and coaching staff have voted Kyle Roach, Ben Bishop and Jordan Lester as captains for the 2017-18 season. 

20 By 12:  Whitworth extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to 12 in a row in 2016-17.  Prior to this current streak, the most 20-win seasons in a row the Pirates had ever had was two (on three different occasions).  Only Wooster (OH), now with 20, has a longer current run of consecutive 20-win seasons in NCAA Division III men's basketball. 

More Than A Decade of Dominance:  Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season (12+ years) the Pirates are 304-56 (.844), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 137 of its last 148 (.926).

Home-Sweet-Home:  Whitworth has been stellar in the Whitworth Fieldhouse since the 1990's. During the decade of the 1990s and 2000's Whitworth won more than 84% of its home games.  But since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 155-15 (.912) at home.

The Pirates have had two home-court winning streaks of more than 40 games since 1990.  A 41-game home court winning streak from early 2009 until December of 2011 was the second-longest in Pirate history. The school record for consecutive home victories is 43, beginning during the 1994-95 season and ending during the 1997-98 season.

Road Warriors: As good as Whitworth is at home, the Pirates have been almost as good away from the Whitworth Fieldhouse during Matt Logie's tenure as head coach.  Since the start of the 11-12 season, Whitworth is 73-15 (.829) away from home, 55-12 (.821) in true road games.

The Main Man:  Kyle Roach, the only returnee from Whitworth's starting lineup in 2016-17, earned second team All-Northwest Conference recognition last season.  He will be the primary focus of most opponents' defensive efforts in 2017-18.  Despite that focus, Roach is averaging 17.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season.

Roach finished fourth in the NWC in scoring average (15.9 ppg) while making 54.1% of his field goals (5th in the NWC) and 43.3% of his three pointers (6th in the NWC).  Roach also finished second on the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg).  Roach was selected as the league's men's basketball Student-Athlete of the Week twice this season (Nov. 28, Dec. 26). 

Bull's Eye Ben:  Ben College is picking up where he left off last season.  He is making 43.1% of his shots from three-point range (3rd in the NWC), including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th.  College leads the team in scoring average (17.5 ppg) so far this season, which currently ranks fifth in the NWC.

College finished second in the Northwest Conference in three-point field goal percentage in 2016-17, making 46.5% of his shots from beyond the arc.  He was 40-86 from long distance and his best game came on December 9th against Covenant College when he went 6-8 from three-point range and scored 28 points.

Coming Home: Jared Christy came into this season with prior experience playing college games in the Whitworth Fieldhouse, but it was previously all for Pacific Lutheran.  Christy earned second team All-NWC recognition as a sophomore in 2016-17 after leading the league in rebounding by a wide margin (11.2 rpg).  He added 13.8 points per contest.  Christy is from Spokane and played high school basketball at Ferris.  He averages 11.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.  He leads the Northwest Conference in rebounding and in double-doubles (7).  His 17 rebounds in the win over George Fox on January 13th are the most for any Whitworth player since Nate Montgomery had 18 boards in a win at Puget Sound on Feb. 28, 2009.

Got the Point?:  Jordan Lester made an immediate impact for the Pirates as point guard over the first ten game.  The junior transfer from Robert Morris (Pa.) was injured in the final ten seconds of the Pirates' loss to Wheaton College and will miss the remainder of the season.  He averaged 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, leading the league in assists at that point.  He missed a triple-double in Whitworth's win over Gallaudet on November 17 by a single assist.

On the Air Again:  Whitworth's games are once again carried live this season on KSBN 1230am in Spokane.  The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 24 years.  Bud Nameck is in his second season as the voice of Whitworth basketball.  The co-host of 920 KXLY radio's Morning News, Nameck has more than 30 years of experience calling college basketball at Gonzaga University and Washington State.

Coming up next:  Whitworth will begin the second half of its Northwest Conference schedule by hosting Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound on January 26th and 27th.    

The Coach: Matt Logie leads NCAA Division III in winning percentage by active coaches with at least five years of experience.  Logie heads into the 2017-18 season with a record of 149-25 and a winning percentage of .856 over his first six seasons at Whitworth.  He also accomplished what no other coach had ever done in NCAA Division III history – win 100 games in his first four seasons as a head coach.  He is a three-time NWC Coach of the Year honoree, earning the award in 2012, 2014 and 2015.  He is 97-11 against the NWC, counting each of the last six conference tournaments.  Logie has guided several players to post-season honors in his four seasons, including Third Team NABC All-America recognition for George Valle (2016), Kenny Love (2015) and Dustin McConnell (2014).  Logie has been a finalist for the Glen Robinson Division III men's basketball Coach of the Year award twice in his career (2016 and 2013)

Logie previously worked eight seasons as an assistant coach at Lehigh University (Pa.), his alma-mater. He also spent a season as an assistant coach at Kent State. In 2010 Logie was named as the top Patriot League Assistant Coach in men's basketball in a Foxsports.com Coaches Poll and in 2011 he was recognized as one of the top 50 assistants in Mid-to-Low Major college basketball by Hoopscoop on-line magazine. Logie is originally from Mercer Island, Washington where he won a pair of state basketball championships while playing for his grandfather, Ed Pepple, a legend in Washington's high school ranks who won 952 games and four state titles in 49 years of coaching.