TACOMA, Wash. – Puget Sound ended a long losing streak to visiting Whitworth and also clinched a spot in the upcoming Northwest Conference men's basketball tournament with an 87-72 victory over the 12th-ranked Pirates on Saturday night.
Whitworth (20-5 overall, 12-4 NWC) still finished second in the Northwest Conference standings and will host Linfield College in the NWC semifinals next Thursday at 7:00 pm.
The Loggers (12-13, 8-8 NWC) clinched the #4 seed in next week's NWC Tournament and also earned their first victory over Whitworth since March 7, 2009 in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Puget Sound ended a 23-game losing streak to the Bucs.
Whitworth jumped out to a 17-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game by making four of its first five three-point attempts, including a pair of treys by Kyle Roach. Puget Sound chipped away at the lead, getting within one point on three occasions. After Kevin Krosno nailed his second three-pointer of the game to give the Pirates a 31-27 advantage, the Loggers went on a 13-3 run to take a 40-34 lead late in the half. Jimmy Wohrer hit a pair of three-pointers in the run. Whitworth trailed 44-40 at the break after Ben College scored just before the buzzer.
The Pirates could never regain momentum in the second half. Jared Christy scored the first basket of the period to get the Bucs within two, and Roach nailed a three-pointer to pull Whitworth within 54-51 five minutes into the half. College drove for a layup with 12:58 left that got the Pirates within 61-58, but that's as close as the Bucs would get.
Leading 72-66 with seven minutes to go, Puget Sound outscored Whitworth 7-0 over the next four minutes to take an insurmountable 79-66 lead.
Roach scored 24 points to lead the Pirates, while College added 16 and Lester finished with 12. Christy grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bucs. Whitworth struggled to score all night long and finished with a team shooting percentage of 38.5 (25-65).
Wohrer scored a game-high 29 points for Puget Sound and grabbed 10 boards. Stellan Roberts added 28 points while Max Basile had 10. The Loggers, the leading three-point shooting team in the NWC, made 10-19 (52.6%) from beyond the arc.