January 7, 2012

11th-ranked Whitworth Rolls Past #16 Puget Sound Late

TACOMA, Wash. – Felix Friedt scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead visiting Whitworth to a key early-season 80-67 win at Puget Sound in a Northwest Conference men's basketball contest on Saturday night.

The 11th-ranked Pirates (11-2 overall, 4-0 NWC) grabbed total control of the game after trailing the 16th-ranked Loggers (11-2, 3-1) by nine points with 14 minutes to play.  The win gives Whitworth sole possession of first place in the NWC and it is the Pirates' 39th win in their last 40 games against conference opponents.

Friedt and Wade Gebbers hit back to back three-pointers to give Whitworth a 13-7 lead in the early going and its largest lead of the first half.  But the Loggers answered with an 8-2 run to tie the game 15-15 on a three-pointer by Ryan Rogers.  There would be eight ties in the first half and three lead changes in the final five minutes before Puget Sound took a 41-38 lead into halftime.

The Loggers opened the second half with a 10-4 run, including a three-pointer by Rex Holmes, to grab a 51-42 lead.  It was the largest lead of the game for UPS and came with 14:14 to play.

But Whitworth tightened the screws on defensive, outscoring the Loggers 38-16 the rest of the way beginning with a 15-2 run that included three-point shots by Gebbers and Colton McCargar and ended on a dunk by Michael Taylor.

Idris Lasisi came up with a steal and break-away basket with 4:22 to play to give Whitworth a 66-59 lead.  Taylor's basket with just under two minutes to play gave the Bucs their first double-digit lead (73-63).  Friedt and Lisisi combined to make 7-8 free throws in the final 1:12 to seal the win for Whitworth.

Friedt posted his sixth double-double of the season and fourth in a row to lead the Pirates.  Lasisi also scored 21 points while Gebbers hit 5-10 from three-point range to finish with 15 points.  Whitworth made 55% (28-51) of its shots, including 43% (10-23) from three-point range. 

Julian Fernandez scored 11 points to lead UPS, while four other Loggers scored 10 points each.

The Pirates will return home to host Pacific (Ore.) and Linfield next weekend in a pair of NWC contests.  Then Whitworth will host Whitman the following Tuesday.

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