6th-Ranked Whitworth Hosts Montana Tech

6th-Ranked Whitworth Hosts Montana Tech

SPOKANE, Wash. - Whitworth returns to non-conference play this week when the Pirates host Montana Tech on Saturday night in the Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.

Links to live coverage for the game can be found in the column to the right.

Whitworth is 6-0 so far this season following a weekend sweep of Lewis & Clark and George Fox to open Northwest Conference play. The Bucs moved up to 6th in this week's D3hoops.com poll.

The Pirates: Whitworth began the chase for its third straight Northwest Conference men's basketball championship by defeating Lewis & Clark College and George Fox University at home last weekend.

Felix Friedt (Sr., P, Düsseldorf, Germany) scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help the Pirates overcome a 29-27 halftime deficit and defeat Lewis & Clark 77-69 on Friday night. After shooting only 38% from the field in the first half, Whitworth made 53% (17-32) of its shots in the second half to outscore the Pioneers 50-40. Friedt added 10 rebounds to his scoring total. Wade Gebbers (Jr., G, Brewster, Wash.) finished with 17 points and seven assists to help the Bucs win their seventh straight game with L&C.

Whitworth used a 34-5 run that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half to run away from George Fox 75-48 on Saturday. It marked the second time this season that the Pirates had held an opponent under 50 points and the fourth time under 60. Idris Lasisi (Sr., G, Leuven, Belgium) scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Friedt finished with 15 points and seven boards, while Jack Loofburrow (Sr., F, Yakima, Wash.) scored all 12 of his points in the second half to help the Pirates pull away.

Friedt Named NWC Player of the Week: Felix Friedt was recognized by the Northwest Conference for his outstanding play over the weekend. He has been selected as the NWC Men's Basketball Student-Athlete of the Week after averaging 19.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in the two conference victories. It is the first time in his career he has won the award and he is the first Whitworth men's basketball player to earn the honor this season.

National Raking: Whitworth moved up two spots to 6th in the second regular season D3hoops.com top 25 poll. Going back to the 2009-10 season, the Bucs have been ranked in the D3hoops.com top-25 for 23 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.

Streaking: Whitworth continues two impressive winning streaks this season.

Following Saturday's win over George Fox, Whitworth has won the last 41 games at home including four 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 59 of their last 63 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 105-10 (.913) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 72-3 (.960) at home. Whitworth is currently on a 41-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.

Learning (and winning) Against Legends: Whitworth's Matt Logie is in his first season as a head coach. Logie might have set a new standard for trial by fire as three of the first four coaches he went up against have combined for 69 years of head coaching experience and more than 1,170 victories. But Logie led the Pirates to victory against Chapman's Mike Bokosky (20 years), Cal Lutheran's Rich Rider (18 years) and Washington University's Mark Edwards (31 years).

Wade Leading the Way: Wade Gebbers is one of Whitworth's leading scorer so far this season, averaging 12.2 points per game and making 50% of his three-point tries through the first six contests. Gebbers leads the team with 24 assists (4.0 apg) and 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: Since his sophomore year Felix Friedt has supplied the strong, inside presence that the Pirates need to balance their outside shooting. So far this season he leads the team in scoring average (15.7 ppg), while making 55% of his shots from the field. He also averages a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game. He was named NWC Men's Basketball Student-Athlete of the Week on December 6th for his efforts in wins over L&C and George Fox.

A Second Team All-NWC selection in 2011, Friedt 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.

Belgian Burner: Idris Lasisi, a fourth-year transfer from North Idaho College, is making a big impact in his only season with the Pirates, averaging 14.2 points and 4.3 per game. He has been Whitworth's top free throw shooter so far, making 14-17 (82.4%) from the charity stripe. He scored a season-high 23 points in Whitworth's win over George Fox on Dec. 3rd.

Instant Ignition: Jack Loofburrow continues to contribute in significant ways for the Pirates this season. He is averaging 9.8 points per game, but can heat up and score quickly as he demonstrated in the second half of last Saturday's win over George Fox. The 6'-7" senior also adds 6.0 rebounds per game.

Last season he earned honorable mention All-NWC honors, 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 Next Glue Guy: Successful Whitworth teams have always had the unsung hero who does all the little things that help the team succeed, but don't show up in the box scores. In recent years that role has been filled by the likes of Clay Gebbers ('11), Calvin Jurich ('09), and Mike Larkin ('05). This season Mack Larkin (Jr., F, Anacortes, Wash.) has stepped into that role. Larkin is most often tasked with guarding the opponent's best offensive player. And he has added 5.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and five steals this season.

The Opponents: Montana Tech is 4-3 this season. The Orediggers have not played since Thanksgiving weekend when the competed in the Capital City Classic in Salem, Oregon where they defeated Willamette 79-74 but fell to Western Oregon 73-57. Montana Tech will take on the University of Montana in Missoula on Wednesday night before traveling to Spokane for the game at Whitworth. The Orediggers have a pair of strong senior guards in AJ Paine (10.7 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Tyree Haynie (10.3 ppg, 42 3pt%). Whitworth last played Montana Tech on December 13, 2009 when the Pirates defeated the Orediggers 77-58 in Butte.

Coming up Next Week: Whitworth will host Northwestern (Minn.) on December 18th in its only game next week.

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.