Pirates Headed to Vegas for D3hoops.com Classic

Pirates Headed to Vegas for D3hoops.com Classic

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team will return to action at the 2018 D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas after a Christmas break.  Whitworth will play a pair of teams that were part of the 2018 NCAA Division III tournament.  The Pirates will take on Johns Hopkins University on Saturday, followed by a battle with Emory & Henry College on Sunday.  Both games will tip off at 4:00 pm (PST).  KSBN radio will carry both games with the pregame show airing 15 minutes prior to tip off. 

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

The Pirates:  Final exams did nothing to damper the Whitworth offense.  The 9th-ranked Pirates improved to 8-1 with three explosive victories before the holidays.

A 71-point second half led to a 115-65 win over La Verne on December 8th.  Whitworth outscored the Leopards 71-34 after halftime by shooting 69% (31-45) from the field, including 8-16 from three-point range.  Fifteen different Pirates scored points in the game and only three players reached double figures in the balanced attack.  Kyle Roach led the way with 23 points and was the only starter in double figures.  Isaiah Hernandez came off the bench for 15 points while Sam Lees scored 10.  Whitworth outrebounded LaVerne 45-35, led by Jared Christy's nine boards.  Following the previous week's 123-98 win over Pacific, the Pirates hit the century mark for the second game in a row for only the second time in school history.

Whitworth made it three 100-point games in a row during a 104-74 win over D'Youville College (N.Y.) on December 10thBen College led the Bucs with a career-high 37 points, setting a school record for three-pointers made in one game after he drained 11 of 17 from beyond the arc.  Roach added 15 points and Christy scored 12.  Jordan Lester finished with nine points, six assists and four steals.  The Whitworth defense forced the Spartans into 23 turnovers.  The second half was again decisive as the Pirates outscored the Spartans 55-35.

Following a break for final exams, Whitworth surpassed all previous scoring outputs during a 143-95 win over Concordia-Chicago on December 19th.  The Pirates crushed the previous single-game scoring record by 20 points, scoring 71 in the first 20 minutes and 72 in the second half.  Six players hit double figures, led by College's 28 points.  Lester and Christy posted a pair of double-doubles.  Lester tallied 21 points, ten rebounds and six assists.  Christy added 16 points, 10 boards and seven assists.  Roach finished with 18 points, while Kevin Crosno and Lees came off the bench for 12 and 10 points, respectively.  In addition, Whitworth also set school records for free throws made (40) and attempted (49) in a single game.

The Opponents:  Led by second-year head coach Josh Loeffler, Johns Hopkins University is 8-2 overall and 5-0 in the Centennial Conference this season.  The Blue Jays went 24-5 and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament in 2017-18.  JHU presents a balanced attack and a defensive focus, holding opponents to only 64.6 points per game.  Conner Delaney (So., G) averages 14.2 points and 4.0 assists per game.  Senior guard Michael Gardner adds 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.  Whitworth and Johns Hopkins have played only once.  The Pirates defeated the Blue Jays 70-60 in Baltimore on November 22, 2008.

Emory & Henry College (Emory, Va.) is coming off of its first-ever Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament title in 2018 and the Wasps played in the NCAA DIII tournament for the first time since 1993 before finishing 22-7.  E&H is 8-3 so far this season, including a 2-2 mark in the ODAC.  Head coach David Willson is in his sixth season leading the Wasps and the team is 66-30 since the start of 2015-16.  Junior guard Daniel Spencer leads his squad with averages of 18.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.  Senior forward Alic Wynn is a monster on the boards (11.6 rpg) and adds 11.7 points per contest.  Whitworth and Emory & Henry have never played in men's basketball.

Smoking Hot: Since losing their first game of the year on November 24th, the Whitworth Pirates have been smoking hot offensively.  The Bucs have gone 5-0 and averaged 114.2 points per game.  Whitworth has made 57.1% of its shots from the field and 42.7% of its three-pointers over that stretch.  The Pirates have averaged 25.6 assists per game and given up only 12.2 turnovers, a ratio better than 2-1.

Whitworth had only hit triple figures in consecutive games once in school history.  The Pirates have surpassed 100 points four straight games, including a school-record 143 points on December 19th against Concordia-Chicago.  The Pirates also set a school record for assists in a game (41) during the 123-98 win over Pacific (Ore.) on December 1st.  The Bucs broke the record for free throws made (40) and attempted (49) against Concordia-Chicago.

What Happens in Vegas: Whitworth will be making its fourth appearance at the D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas during the tournament's nine years of existence.  The Pirates are 5-1 in three previous trips, including 2010 (2-0), 2013 (1-1) and 2015 (2-0). 

National Ranking:  The Whitworth Pirates are ranked 9th in the latest (Dec. 17) D3hoops.com poll.  Whitworth has appeared in 154 D3hoops.com regular season polls and has been ranked in 53 regular season polls in a row, currently the longest streak in Division III.  

NWC Preseason Poll: Whitworth was second in the 2018-19 Northwest Conference preseason coaches poll.  The Pirates received four first place votes and 60 points, trailing only defending champion Whitman (5 first place votes, 61 points).  Whitworth is aiming for a 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III tournament.

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 323-59 (.845), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 148 of its last 160 (.925).

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 165-16 (.911) 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 82-17 (.828) away from home, 62-12 (.839) 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 and an NABC Division III first team All-American.  Last season Roach became the 28th player in Whitworth history to surpass 1,000 career points and he now has 1,307 points to rank 12th on the Pirates' all-time scoring list.  He is averaging 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in 2018-19.

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

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 is driving Whitworth's offensive explosion in 2018-19.  He set a school-record with 11 three-pointers during the Pirates' 104-74 win over D'Youville on December 8th and he leads the team in scoring average (21.4).  He scored his career high of 37 points in that win.  Currently making 48.8% of his three-pointers, College ranks sixth in NCAA DIII in three-pointers made per game (4.44).

College had a 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) and 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.

Chairman of the Boards: No player in the Northwest Conference has accumulated more rebounds over the last four seasons than Jared Christy.  He has battled through injuries to average 9.9 points and 9.3 rebounds (first in the NWC) per game so far this year.  He has three double-doubles in 2018-19 and has 26 in his career.

Christy came to Whitworth last season after spending two years Pacific Lutheran and earned his second consecutive second team All-NWC honor.  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. 

Got the Point?:  Jordan Lester has returned to the role of starting point guard in 2018-19.  He is averaging 12.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game.  His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.9. 

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.

Bishop's Move:  Ben Bishop is in his second season as Whitworth's starting post player and he averages 7.3 points per contest while making 68.9% of his shots from the field.

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.

On the Air Again:  Whitworth's 2018-19 games will 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:  Following the New Year, Whitworth will head back into Northwest Conference play on January 4th at Lewis & Clark and at home on January 8th against Whitman. 

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.