Pirates Aim For Strong Finish at PLU, UPS

Pirates Aim For Strong Finish at PLU, UPS

SPOKANE, Wash. – The end of the regular season is here for the Whitworth University men's basketball team, but not the end of the road.  The Pirates will travel to Pacific Lutheran University on Friday (8:00 pm) before concluding the regular schedule at Puget Sound 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 posted a pair of second half rallies last weekend to improve to 19-4 overall and 11-3 in the NWC.  The 12th-ranked Pirates have secured the #2 seed in the upcoming Northwest Conference men's basketball tournament and need only one more victory to clinch their 14th consecutive 20-win season.

Whitworth outscored visiting Linfield 11-1 over the final 3:44 of the game to pull out a 74-73 victory over the Wildcats when Isaiah Hernandez scored the game-winning basket with 13 seconds left to play.  The Pirates earned their 23rd consecutive win in the series the hard way.  They led for a total of 23 seconds in the game, including the final 13 seconds after Hernandez hit his winning layup.  After shooting only 38.5% in the first half, Whitworth made 53% of its baskets after halftime.  Jared Christy posted his fifth double-double of the season with 21 points and ten rebounds.  He added three assists, three steals and three of his baskets were from the three-point line.  Ben College and Jordan Lester added 15 points apiece, while Hernandez scored 13 points off the bench. 

All-American Kyle Roach got better as the game against George Fox went on, scoring two points in the first half, 19 points in the second half and 14 of Whitworth's 16 points in overtime to guide the Pirates to a 107-98 win over George Fox on Saturday.  The 35 points was a season-high for Roach and the performance came only one day after he had a season-low against Linfield.  He helped lead the Pirates back from a nine-point deficit near the end of the first half.  Roach, Ben Bishop, Christy and Kevin Crosno, along with student-assistance CJ Johnson, were honored prior to tip off.  The win over George Fox allows that senior class to play one more game at home this season in the NWC tournament.  Ben College added 23 points, while Hernandez had 16 and Christy finished with 13.  Lester grabbed eight rebounds and dished six assists.  Whitworth has won 11 in a row over George Fox. 

The Opponents:  Pacific Lutheran comes into Friday 8-14 overall and 5-9 in the NWC.  The Lutes fell 127-118 at Pacific (Ore.) last Friday before bouncing back to beat Lewis & Clark 74-55 on Sunday, the second win in in PLU's last three games.  The Lutes average 73.7 points per game while allowing 81.5 points per contest.  However, PLU is one of the better defensive teams in the NWC, leading the league in blocks per game (3.7) and ranking second in field goal percentage defense (46.2).  Junior forward Leighton Kingma averages 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and stretches defenses.  He leads the Lutes in three-pointers made and in three-point percentage (42.9).  Sophomore point guard Kelton Williams adds 10.5 points per game and dishes 4.2 assists per contest.  Whitworth rallied from an early 9-0 deficit and from down 30-26 at halftime to defeat PLU 71-56 at home on January 19th.  It was the Pirates' 28th straight win in the series.

The University of Puget Sound (11-12 overall, 7-7 NWC) is in the driver's seat in the chase for the final spot in the 2019 NWC Tournament.  The Loggers are in fourth place and lead George Fox (6-8 NWC) by one game.  Puget Sound averages 86.4 points per game while allowing 88.3 points per contest.  They lead the NWC in three-point shooting (41.7% as a team) and in free throw percentage (76.8).  Senior guard Jimmy Wohrer averages 20.2 points per game, leading the league in three-pointers made per contest (3.5) and making 41% of his attempts.  Freshman forward Cal Hanson adds 12.6 points per game and ranks second in the NWC in rebounding (9.7 per game).  Whitworth defeated Puget Sound 98-84 on January 18th behind a combined 50 points by Roach and College.  It was the Bucs 23rd straight win against the Loggers.

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.

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 12th in the latest (Feb. 11) D3hoops.com poll. The Bucs moved up three spots from the previous week.  Whitworth has appeared in 160 D3hoops.com regular season polls and has been ranked in 59 regular season polls in a row, currently the longest streak in Division III.  

Lucky 14:  With only one more win, Whitworth can extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to 14 in a row in 2018-19.  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 334-62 (.843), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 157 of its last 172 (.912).

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.  However, since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 170-17 (.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 88-19 (.822) away from home, 66-14 (.825) 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 1,554 points to rank sixth on the Pirates' all-time scoring list.  Roach is 23 points away from moving past Christian Jurlina (2014-17) into fifth place on the list.  He is averaging 17.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 2018-19. Roach was selected as the NWC's men's basketball student-athlete of the week on January 21st.

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 College on December 8th and he ranks second in the Northwest Conference in scoring average at 20.7 points per game.  Currently making 44.3% of his three-pointers and 3.3 three-pointers per game, College ranks 9th in free throw percentage (92.0).  He was selected as the NWC's men's basketball student-athlete of the week on January 4th and on January 18th he became the 29th player in Whitworth history to surpass 1,000 career points and he currently has 1,144.

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 10.3 points and 9.0 rebounds (third in the NWC) per game so far this year.  He has five double-doubles in 2018-19 and has 28 in his career.  Including his two seasons at PLU, Christy has totaled 1,121 points and 933 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 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.73 (6th 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 7.8 points per contest while leading the Northwest Conference in field goal percentage (67.9).

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 host the NWC's third place team (currently Linfield) on Thursday, Feb. 21st in a Northwest Conference Tournament semifinal.  Top-seeded Whitman hosts the 4th place team on the same night.  Thursday's winners will meet on Saturday at the home of the highest remaining seed.

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.