SPOKANE, Wash. - Whitworth finds itself in the unfamiliar position of having to rebound from a home loss. The 8th-ranked Pirates will find out how well they can do that when they host Northwestern College (Minn.) on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the Fieldhouse. In addition, the Bucs need to get their groove back despite spending this week taking final exams for the fall semester.
Links to live coverage for the game can be found in the column to the right.
Whitworth saw its 41-game home-court winning streak come to an end last Saturday with a non-conference loss to Montana Tech.
The Pirates: Last Saturday's game with Montana Tech was a tough one to gauge. The Pirates controlled the last ten minutes of the first half and the first ten minutes of the second half. But it was not enough to overcome the Orediggers, who jumped out to a 10-0 lead and led 22-10 ten minutes into the game. Tech then used a 14-0 run with ten minutes left to rally from five points behind on the way to an 83-73 win over the previously 6th-ranked Pirates. Whitworth used hot three-point shooting in the first half to rally into the lead, making 11-21 from behind the line in that period. But the hot-hand escaped the Bucs in the second half as Whitworth's three-point shooting slumped badly to 16% (3-19). Of the 59 shots the Pirates attempted in the game, 40 came from three-point distance. Idris Lasisi (Sr., G, Leuven, Belgium) scored 23 points for the Bucs, while Wade Gebbers (Jr., G, Brewster, Wash.) added 20 points (17 in the first half). Felix Friedt (Sr., P, Düsseldorf, Germany) totaled 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.
National Raking: Whitworth dropped two spots to 8th in the third 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 24 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.
Streaks Ended: Whitworth saw two impressive winning streaks come to an end last weekend.
Whitworth's 41-game home winning streak was halted in Saturday's loss to NAIA Div. I Montana Tech. It had been the longest active streak in NCAA Division III and dated to January of 2009.
The Pirates' streak of 22 consecutive home victories over non-conference opponents, that dated back to a 72-67 loss to Lewis-Clark State in December of 2000, also came to an end.
Rolling On: It's not exactly a streak, but the Bucs have won 59 of their last 64 games, an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.
Home-Sweet-Home: Whitworth has been stellar in the Fieldhouse throughout the 1990's and 2000's. Since the 2001-02 season the Pirates are 105-11 (.905) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 72-4 (.947) at home. During the decade of the 1990s the Pirates won more than 80% of their games played at home.
The 41-game home court winning streak 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.
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: Point guard Wade Gebbers is one of Whitworth's leading scorers so far this season, averaging 13.3 points per game and making 49% of his three-point tries through the first seven contests. Gebbers leads the team with 27 assists (3.9 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 is second on the team in scoring average (15.0 ppg), while making 55% of his shots from the field. He also averages a team-best 6.7 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 a team-best 15.4 points and 4.3 per game. He has scored a season-high 23 points twice this winter, first in Whitworth's win over George Fox on Dec. 3rd and again against Montana Tech on December 10th.
Instant Ignition: Jack Loofburrow continues to contribute in significant ways for the Pirates this season. He is averaging 8.9 points per game, but can heat up and score quickly as he demonstrated in the second half of the December 3rd win over George Fox (12 points scored after halftime). The 6'-7" senior also adds 5.6 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 always 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 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds with 10 assists and six steals this season.
The Opponents: Northwestern College of Roseville, Minnesota is a member of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC). The Eagles are 4-4 so far this year, but return several key players from last season when they finished 21-7 overall and won the UMAC with a 13-1 record. Northwestern lost a hard-fought game at eventual national champion St. Thomas (Minn.) in the first round of last season's NCAA Division III tournament. Junior guard Wade Chitwood leads the Eagles in scoring average (14.8 ppg), while fellow junior Tom Gisler adds 13.9 ppg while making 52% of his three-point tries and three three-point baskets per game. Chitwood led Northwestern with 17 points in last season's NCAA tournament game.
The Eagles defeated Luther (Iowa) 74-72 on December 9th in their most recent game and play at North Central (Minn.) tonight (Tuesday) before traveling to Washington. Northwestern will play a game against Whitman College on Saturday at 6:00 in the Whitworth Fieldhouse before taking on the Pirates.
Whitworth's only other game against a school from the UMAC came in 2006 when the Pirates defeated Bethany Lutheran (Minn.) 68-56 in a game played in Maui, Hawaii.
Coming up Next Week: Whitworth will travel to San Antonio, Texas to participate in the Trinity National Invitational Tournament. The Pirates will take on 13th-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater on December 21st, then play Southwestern (Texas) on the 22nd.
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.