November 22, 2011

Pirates Headed to California for Thanksgiving

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Whitworth men's basketball team is off to a solid start in 2011-12, following season-opening wins over UC Santa Cruz and Washington of St. Louis. This week the Pirates will head to the San Francisco Bay Area for the NWC-SCIAC Challenge, co-hosted by Whitworth and Whitman, at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. The Bucs will take on California Lutheran on Friday and Chapman on Saturday. Both games will tip off at 10:00 a.m.

No live video, audio or statistics will be available.

The Pirates: Whitworth opened the season with two victories at home last week.

The Bucs opened the season with a 70-54 victory over UC Santa Cruz on Thursday night. Wade Gebbers (Jr., G, Brewster, Wash.) sparked the team with 17 points, making 5 of 7 shots from three-point range. Idris Lasisi (Sr., G, Leuven, Belgium) added 11 points. But depth and rebounding were the story of this game. All 11 Pirates who played more than a minute scored in the contest. And Whitworth controlled the backboards by out-rebounding the Banana Slugs 44-22, including a 15-2 edge in offensive rebounds. The win was also the first of his career for new head coach Matt Logie.

On Sunday afternoon the Pirates took on traditional NCAA Division III power Washington University of St. Louis. Whitworth used an 18-0 run midway through the first half to spark an 88-66 win over the Bears. The Pirates led by as many as 32 points in the second half while hitting 54% of their shots from the floor and 52% (13-25) from three-point range. Gebbers scored a career-high 25 points while making a career-high seven three-pointers (in 10 attempts). Lasisi added 18 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds. Felix Friedt (Sr., P, Düsseldorf, Germany) finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.

National Raking: Whitworth is ranked 12th in the preseason D3hoops.com top 25 poll. The first poll of the regular season will be released next week. Going back to the 2009-10 season, the Bucs have been ranked in the D3hoops.com top-25 for 21 consecutive polls. Last winter Whitworth reached #1 in the D3hoops.com poll twice, becoming the first school west of St. Paul, Minnesota to ever ascend to the top of the D3hoops.com national rankings.

Team Captains: The members of the Whitworth basketball team and coaching staff have voted Felix Friedt, Wade Gebbers and Michael Taylor (Sr., P, Aspen, Colo.) as team captains for the 2011-12 season.

Ehlo Joins In: Austin Ehlo (Fr., W, Spokane, Wash.) has joined the Whitworth basketball team following a successful first year in football. He earned First Team All-NWC honors this fall as a punter and Second Team All-NWC as a wide receiver. Ehlo was an All-Greater Spokane League selection in football and basketball as a senior at Lewis & Clark HS in 2010.

Streaking: Whitworth continues two impressive winning streaks this season.

Following Sunday's win over Washington, Whitworth has won the last 39 games at home including both this season. The Pirates went 15-0 in the Whitworth Fieldhouse last season and 15-0 in 2009-10. They finished the 2008-09 season on a seven game home winning streak.

Since the 2001-02 season, the Pirates are 18-0 in non-conference, regular-season home games, and 22-0 at home against non-conference opponents when NCAA tournament games are factored into the mix.

And though it's not exactly a streak, the Bucs have won 55 of their last 59 games, an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.

Home-Sweet-Home: Whitworth had been stellar in the Fieldhouse throughout the 1990's and 2000's. Since the 2001-02 season the Pirates are 103-10 (.911) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 70-3 (.959) at home. Whitworth is currently on a 39-game home-court winning streak.

The school record for consecutive home victories is 45, beginning during the 1994-95 season and ending during the 1997-98 season.

Wade Leading the Way: Wade Gebbers is Whitworth's leading scorer so far this season, averaging 21.0 points per game and making 70% of his three-point tries through the first two contests. He scored a career-high 25 points in the win over Washington University on November 20th. Last season he averaged 3.35 assists per game (5th in the NWC) and his assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.07 - 1 was third highest in the NWC. He scored a season-high 20 points on Feb. 12, 2011 against George Fox, all in the second half, to lead Whitworth back from a three-point halftime deficit to an 89-66 win.

Herr Friedt: For the last three seasons Felix Friedt has supplied the strong, inside presence that the Pirates need to balance their outside shooting. A Second Team All-NWC selection in 2011, he made 59.9% of his shots from the field last year, which was third in the NWC, and 81.8% of his free throws (also 3rd in the conference) while averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game (4th in the NWC). Friedt scored a career-high 27 points on January 8th vs. Puget Sound, then followed that up with 24 points and 14 points against the Loggers on February 4th.

Also, Friedt became only the second Academic All-American in Whitworth men's basketball history in 2011. He was selected to the Capital One Academic All-America® Men's Basketball College Division Third Team, the first Pirate chosen since Bryan Depew in 2004.

Instant Ignition: Jack Loofburrow earned honorable mention All-NWC honors in 2011, despite coming off of the bench in most games. He averaged 12.1 points per game while making 45.9% (5th in the NWC) of his three-point attempts. He torched PLU for eight three-pointers last February 5th to tie the previous school record for threes in a game and tie his own career high for points (31). Just as impressive was the rebounding with an average of 6.0 (12th in the NWC) rebounds per game and he averaged 0.82 blocks per contest (3rd in the NWC). He scored a career-high 31 points while making 13 of 14 shots from the floor in a win over Colorado College on December 29, 2010.

The Opponents: Cal Lutheran is 1-0 so far, following a season-opening 69-56 win at LaSierra last week. The Kingsmen finished 14-12 last season, 8-6 (third place) in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SCIAC). Senior center Aaron VanKlaveren is the leading returnee after averaging 10.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season. He scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win over LaSierra. Whitworth has won the last two meetings against CLU, but the most recent was in November of 2006 when the Pirates won 68-55 during a tournament in Maui, Hawaii. Whitworth defeated CLU 74-69 on December 18th in Burlingame, California. The Pirates went to CLU the following weekend for a tournament, but the teams did not meet up at that event. Kingsmen head coach Rich Rider is in his 18th season at CLU.

Chapman University is coming off of two straight national tournament appearances. The Panthers, in their first season as a provisional member of the SCIAC, set a school record for wins in a season last winter after finishing 25-4. Chapman is off to a 2-0 start this season with a 76-63 home win over La Verne and a 56-51 win at Redlands. Senior point guard Brandon Lin is the top returning Panther and a dangerous three-point shooter. Senior forward Ben Ricard has lead his team this season with averages of 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Whitworth and Chapman have meet each of the last four seasons. The Pirates ended the Panthers' season in 2010 and 2011 in Spokane in the second round of the NCAA Div. III tournament. Whitworth defeated Chapman 62-47 in November of 2008 in a game played at Caltech. The Panthers topped the Pirates 56-53 in the season opener in 2007. Chapman head coach Mike Bokosky is in his 20th season.

Coming up Next Week: Whitworth will open Northwest Conference play at home against Lewis & Clark (Friday, Dec. 2nd) and George Fox (Saturday, Dec. 3rd). Both games will tip off at 8:00 pm following the women's contests.

The Coach: Matt Logie is in his first season as head men's basketball coach at Whitworth. He 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.

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