SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team kicks off the second round of its Northwest Conference schedule in Oregon this weekend. The Pirates will play at Pacific University on Friday night (8:00 pm), and then head to Willamette University on Saturday (6:00 pm). Both games will tip off as the second half of a women's-men's doubleheader and KSBN radio 1230 am will air both games live.
Watch the Whitworth men's basketball schedule for other live links to this week's games.
The Pirates: Whitworth moved up to #5 in this week's D3hoops.com top 25 poll after earning a pair of home victories over Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran last weekend. The Pirates improved to 15-2 overall and 7-1 in the NWC.
Whitworth's offensive production was just too much for visiting Puget Sound in Friday night's 98-84 win over the Loggers. The Pirates shot 63% from the field in the opening half and finished the game 57% overall. Whitworth made 10-20 from three-point range and never trailed, leading by as many as 18 points in the second half. The Bucs also finished with a 38-26 edge in rebounds. Ben College and Kyle Roach combined to score 50 points in the game. College scored 26, making 4-6 from three-point range. Roach totaled 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Jordan Lester posted a double-double, his third of the season, with 18 points and ten rebounds while also dishing six assists. Jared Christy (13 points) was the fourth Pirate player in double figures.
Saturday's 71-56 win over Pacific Lutheran played out much differently for Whitworth. The Pirates suffered through their worst offensive half of the season before outscoring the Lutes 45-26 in the second period. Whitworth made only 29% of its shots in the opening 20 minutes and committed 12 turnovers as PLU took a 30-26 lead into halftime. The Pirates came out more focused in the second half, made 59% of their shots and only turned the ball over twice. Roach scored 27 of his game-high 30 points after halftime. College chipped in 14 points.
Roach Honored: Kyle Roach is the Northwest Conference men's basketball Student-Athlete of the Week after averaging 27.0 points per game in the victories over Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. He made nearly 70% of his field goals and 66.7% of his three-pointers. The senior also went 16-19 at the free throw line. He added 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the all-around effort. Roach became the second Whitworth player this season to win the award, following Ben College on January 2nd.
Making the List: Ben College and Kyle Roach are on the Top-100 watch list for the 2019 Bevo Francis Award. The Clarence "Bevo" Francis Award is presented annually to the men's basketball player who has had the finest overall season within small college basketball (NCAA Div. II, NCAA Div. II, NAIA Div. I, NAIA Div. II, NSCAA, and USCAA – a total nearing 1,200 colleges and universities). Considerations include season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements. Bevo Francis, one of the greatest small college players in history, starred at the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) for two seasons (1952-53 and 1953-54). By the time he was done in college, Francis was arguably the most famous basketball player in the world.
The watch list will be narrowed to 50 players on February 15, 2019 and 25 players on March 15, 2019. The finalists will be named on April 6th and the winner will be announced on April 8th.
The Opponents: Pacific University of Oregon is 8-9 overall and 2-6 in the Northwest Conference. The Boxers have won two of their last three games. Last weekend they lost 105-83 at Linfield on Friday before bouncing back to win 103-86 at Lewis & Clark on Saturday. Pacific leads the NWC in scoring offense (104.8 ppg – third in NCAA DIII) and steals per game (14.4 – also third in NCAA DIII). The Boxers feature a talented backcourt trio in junior Marcus Wallace (21.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg), senior Brevin Brown (15.3 ppg) and junior Davis Holly (13.6 ppg). Whitworth defeated Pacific 123-98 at home on December 1st in the first meeting of the season between the teams. The Pirates set a school record for assists in a game (41) and tied the school record for points (which was later broken). Whitworth made 68.5% of its shots to claim its fourth straight win over the Boxers.
Willamette University is 5-12 overall and 2-6 in the NWC heading into Friday night's game against Whitman College. Like Pacific, the Bearcats have won two of their last three games. Last weekend Willamette lost 80-73 at Lewis & Clark on Friday, but bounced back to knock off George Fox 88-74 on Saturday. The Bearcats rank among the top three schools in the NWC in rebound margin, blocks per game and fewest fouls per game. Senior forward Jordan Jenkins is having an All-NWC kind of season, averaging 18.6 points and a league-best 9.7 rebounds per game. Senior guard Trent Callan adds 11.5 points and 4.1 assists per contest. Whitworth defeated Willamette 86-69 in Spokane on November 30 in the NWC opener for both schools, extending the Pirates' winning streak over the Bearcats to 22 in a row.
One More SWX TV Game: The February 8th NWC doubleheader with Linfield will be televised locally on cable station SWX. Owned by local NBC affiliate KHQ (channel 6), SWX stands for Sports & Weather Right Now. SWX can be seen both over-the-air and through some cable services in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and Yakima viewership areas. In the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, SWX is found on digital channel 6.2, on Comcast channel 112 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho.
Smoking Hot: During a five-game stretch from November 30th – December 19th, the Pirates posted the most explosive offensive production in school history. The Bucs went 5-0 and averaged 114.2 points per game. Whitworth made 57.1% of its shots from the field and 42.7% of its three-pointers over that stretch, averaged 25.6 assists per game and gave 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 surpassed 100 points four straight games, including a school-record 143 points on December 19th against Concordia-Chicago. The Pirates set a school record for assists in a game (41) during the 123-98 win over Pacific (Ore.) on December 1st. The Bucs also broke the records for free throws made (40) and attempted (49) in one game against Concordia-Chicago.
National Ranking: The Whitworth Pirates are ranked 5th in the latest (Jan. 21) D3hoops.com poll. The Bucs moved up one spot to their highest position of the season. Whitworth has appeared in 157 D3hoops.com regular season polls and has been ranked in 56 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 330-60 (.846), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level. Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 153 of its last 166 (.921).
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 167-17 (.907) 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 87-17 (.836) away from home, 65-12 (.844) 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 1,457 points to rank 7th (tied) on the Pirates' all-time scoring list. He is averaging 18.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists (3rd in the NWC) 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 and a career-high 37 points during the Pirates' 104-74 win over D'Youville on December 8th and he ranks second in the Northwest Conference in scoring average at 21.4 points per game. Currently making 47.4% of his three-pointers, College ranks 11th in NCAA DIII in three-pointers made per game (3.76).
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 8.9 points and 9.4 rebounds (second in the NWC) per game so far this year. He has four double-doubles in 2018-19 and has 27 in his career. Including his two seasons at PLU, Christy has totaled 1,035 points and 886 rebounds 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 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists (5th in NWC) and 1.5 steals per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.86 (5th in the NWC).
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 7.4 points per contest while making 68.5% 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: Local radio station KSBN 1230am once again carries Whitworth basketball live in Spokane in 2018-19. 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 play at 3rd-ranked Whitman on Tuesday (Jan. 29) at 8:00 pm before hosting Lewis & Clark on Saturday (Feb. 2) at 6:00 pm.
The Coach: Matt Logie leads all of the NCAA 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.