SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team officially opens the 2018-19 season this weekend at the Bruin Classic on the campus of George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. The Pirates will play St. Olaf on Friday and Whittier on Saturday. Both games will tip at 1:00 pm. Friday's season-opening game will air 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.
NWC Preseason Poll: Whitworth is second in the 2018-19 Northwest Conference coaches poll, which was released yesterday by the conference office. The Pirates received four first place votes and 60 points, trailing only defending champion Whitman. Whitman picked up five first place votes and 61 points in the poll. Whitworth is aiming for a 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III tournament.
The Pirates: Whitworth returns all five starters from last season, plus another player who began the season as a starter. The Pirates also return the top four players off the bench from a year ago. There are 19 men on the 2018-19 roster, including five freshmen.
Kyle Roach, a 2018 NABC Division III first team All-American leads the returning cast. D3hoops.com picked Roach as a 2018-19 first team preseason All-American. Three other returnees earned All-NWC recognition a year ago. Jared Christy was a second team honoree, while Ben College and Garrett Hull picked up honorable mention consideration. Ben Bishop is back for his second season as the starting center.
Jordan Lester began last season as Whitworth's starting point guard and was on his way to post-season accolades before he injured a knee in the ninth game. The NCAA granted Lester a medical hardship and still has two years of eligibility remaining.
The Opponents: St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) is ranked 23rd in the D3hoops.com preseason top-25 poll. The Oles went 20-8 in 2017-18 and finished second in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. St. Olaf received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament and advanced to the second round. The Oles return two 2017-18 All-MIAC selections in Austin Korba (Sr., F), who received second team all-conference honors, and Nate Albers (Jr., G), who was a third team honoree. St. Olaf is 0-2 so far this season, but both losses have come to teams from the powerful Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. The Oles dropped their opener 80-75 at Wisconsin-Eau Claire and fell 54-41 to 12th-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point in their first home game on Tuesday night. Whitworth and St. Olaf last played one another early in the 2016-17 season and the Pirates edged the Oles 70-69 at home.
Whittier College is coming off a 10-16 record in 2017-18 and the Poets went 8-8 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. Included in that win total was a 74-73 win over second place Occidental. Whittier had ten different players start games last winter. Nick Potthoff (Jr., F) started 16 games and averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. Senior F Conner Longmire averaged 9.0 points and 4.0 rebounds a season ago. Whitworth last played Whittier in the 2010-11 season and the Pirates defeated the Poets 86-65 in Spokane.
National Ranking: The Whitworth Pirates are ranked sixth in the D3hoops.com 2018-19 preseason poll. Whitworth has appeared in 150 regular season D3hoops.com polls and has been ranked in 49 regular season polls in a row, currently the longest streak in Division III.
Baker's Dozen: With its win at George Fox last February 9th, Whitworth extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to 13 in a row in 2017-18. 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), with 21, has a longer 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 (13 years) the Pirates are 315-58 (.844), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level. Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 146 of its last 158 (.924).
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 160-16 (.909) 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 79-16 (.832) away from home, 61-12 (.836) in true road games.
The Main Man: Kyle Roach, now in his third season as a starter, was the 2017-18 NWC Player of the Year despite being the primary focus of most opponents' defensive efforts. Roach averaged 18.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists last season and he hit the game-winning three-pointer in the Pirates' NWC tournament championship victory. He scored a career-high 45 points on February 6, 2018 vs. #1-ranked Whitman, one game after he had 39 points in the Pirates' win at Lewis & Clark on February 3rd. He was the NWC Player of the Week twice in 2017-18 – on January 8th and February 5th. Roach became the 28th player in Whitworth history to surpass 1,000 career points and he has 1,143 points in his career.
As a sophomore in 2016-17, 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). He earned second team All-NWC recognition and was the league's Student-Athlete of the Week twice (Nov. 28, Dec. 26) in 2016-17.
Bull's Eye Ben: Ben College has another big shooting year in 2017-18. He made 45% of his shots from three-point range, including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th and a 6-10 night in the NWC tournament final at Whitman. College was second on the team in scoring average (16.5 ppg). He scored a career-high 31 points in a win over Gallaudet on November 17, 2017. College was an honorable mention All-NWC selection in 2018.
College finished second in the Northwest Conference in three-point field goal percentage as a freshman 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 last season with prior experience playing college games in the Whitworth Fieldhouse, but it was previously all for Pacific Lutheran. He earned his second consecutive second team All-NWC honor last year. He averaged 12.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and led the Northwest Conference in double-doubles (10). His 17 rebounds in the win over George Fox on January 13, 2017 were the most for any Whitworth player since Nate Montgomery had 18 boards in a win at Puget Sound on Feb. 28, 2009.
Christy earned second team All-NWC recognition as a sophomore in 2016-17 at PLU 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.
Stepping Up: Garrett Hull stepped in as Whitworth's starting point guard on December 29, 2017 after an injury to Jordan Lester. Hull received 2018 honorable mention All-NWC consideration with an average of 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He also led Whitworth in steals per game (2.2). Hull scored a career-high 24 points in Whitworth's win at George Fox on February 9th and he posted back-to-back double-doubles in the NWC tournament. Hull came to Whitworth after playing two seasons for the Community Colleges of Spokane.
Bishop's Move: Ben Bishop enters his second season as Whitworth's starting post player. In 2017-18 he ranked second in the NWC in field goal percentage (62.2). Bishop averaged 8.5 points per game and scored a career-high 18 points on November 24th against North Central (Ill.) and matched it on February 9th at George Fox.
Got the Point?: Jared Lester could return to his role as the starting point guard in 2018-19. The redshirt junior transfer from Robert Morris (Pa.) averaged 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game before injuring his knee in the ninth game of the season in 2017-17. At that time he led the league in assists and was third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.31). 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 third 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 head to San Antonio, Texas for Thanksgiving break for games against Trinity and Texas-Dallas.
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 2018-19 season with a record of 173-29 and a winning percentage of .856 over his first seven 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 113-14 against the NWC, counting games from the conference tournaments. Logie has guided several players to post-season honors in his seven seasons. In 2018 Kyle Roach was named to the NABC Division III All-America team and selected as the NWC Player of the Year. In 2016 Kenny Love and Christian Jurlina each earned First Team All-Northwest Conference recognition for the third time in their careers, joining a small list of players in league history to accomplish that feat. Love also earned All-Region recognition in 2017 and was the NWC Player of the year and a Third Team All-American in 2015. George Valle was selected as the NWC Player of the Year and a Third Team All-American (NABC) in 2016. 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.