SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth is scheduled to play its final non-conference men's basketball game of 2011-12 and it is going to be a special one for head coach Matt Logie. The Pirates will take on Calvin College (Mich.) on Thursday at Mercer Island High School, Logie's alma mater. The game will tip off at 5:30 p.m.
Whitworth heads into the game with an 8-2 record after splitting a pair of contests last week in San Antonio at the Trinity National Invitational.
The Pirates: Whitworth played one of its better halves of the season in last Wednesday's 76-61 loss against 16th-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater. Then the Pirates played their worst half of the season in the same contest. Whitworth led Whitewater 33-24 at halftime, having shot 56% from the field in the first half while holding the Warhawks to only 25% in the period. Then in the second half UWW shot 71% while the Pirates only made 30% of their shots as Whitewater outscored Whitworth 52-28 after halftime. Idris Lasisi led Whitworth with 25 points on 8-11 shooting and added eight rebounds. Felix Friedt scored 14 points and grabbed nine boards. No other Pirate reached double figures in the game.
The Pirates started slowly, then pulled away with their own huge second half in Thursday's 97-63 win over Southwestern (Texas). Leading by nine points at halftime, and by only six points early in the second half, Whitworth shot 68% in the second period to outscore Southwestern 61-36. The Bucs posted season-highs for total points, shooting percentage (55.4%), total shots made (31) and assists (22). Friedt dominated the smaller Southwestern team (also known as the Pirates) to the tune of 25 points and 12 rebounds. He made 12 of 13 free throws and also dished a career-high five assists. Lasisi added 17 points while Wade Gebbers hit five three-pointers for 15 points and Robby Douglas scored a career-high 14 points off of the bench.
Logie's Homecoming: Whitworth head coach Matt Logie will be making a significant homecoming this week when the Pirates play Calvin College at Mercer Island High School on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. Logie graduated from Mercer Island in 1999 having led the Islanders to a pair of state championships in 1997 and 1999 under his coach and grandfather – Ed Pepple. Pepple won 952 games and four state championships in his 49 years as the head coach at Mercer Island and in 2010 the gymnasium was dedicated to Ed and Shirley Pepple following his retirement. Thursday night's contest will be Logie's first competitive game at Mercer Island since he led the Islanders to a win over Bellevue High School in February of 1999.
"Being able to coach my own team in the gym at Mercer Island, where my basketball roots began, is a special opportunity," Logie said. "There are so many memories there, not just for me but also for my whole family, and the many people that helped shaped me as a coach and person."
National Raking: There was no new D3hoops.com poll this week because of the holiday break. Whitworth remained 8th in the fourth regular season poll released on December 20th. Going back to the 2009-10 season, the Bucs have been ranked in the D3hoops.com top-25 for 25 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 as team captains for the 2011-12 season.
Streaks Ended: Whitworth saw two impressive winning streaks come to an end on December 10th.
Whitworth's 41-game home winning streak was halted in the 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 61 of their last 67 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 106-11 (.906) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 73-4 (.948) 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 12.6 points per game and making 48% of his three-point tries through the first ten contests. Gebbers leads the team with 37 assists (3.7 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 leading the team in scoring average (17.0 ppg), while making 58% of his shots from the field and 80% of his free throws. He also averages a team-best 8.0 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 16.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He also leads the team in steals (12). Lasisi scored a season-high 25 points in Whitworth's game against nationally-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater on December 21st.
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 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds with 18 assists and eight steals this season.
The Opponent: Calvin College comes into Thursday's game 5-4 this season. The Knights, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, are members of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) – the oldest continually existing NCAA Division III circuit in the country. Calvin has been on a layoff since December 10th when the Knights defeated Trinity Christian 83-63 at home. Junior forward Tom Snikkers leads his team in scoring at 14.7 points per game. Sophomore Tyler Kruis, a 6-9 post player, adds 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Calvin is scheduled to play against Whitman College on Friday night in Lynden, Washington. The last time the Pirates and Knights played was November 18, 2005 when Calvin defeated Whitworth 82-67 in the championship game of Calvin's season-opening tournament in Grand Rapids.
Coming up Next Week: Whitworth will return to Northwest Conference play and continue with only league games for the rest of the season. The Pirates will return to Western Washington on January 6th and 7th to take on Pacific Lutheran University and nationally-ranked University of Puget Sound.
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.