Pirates Set to Host Pair of Tacoma Foes

SPOKANE, Wash. – After a successful start to the second half of the Northwest Conference schedule, the Whitworth men's basketball team returns home to host Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran in a pair of key conference contests.  Both teams come into the weekend tied for second place in the NWC standings.

Both games can be heard live in the Spokane area on KSBN 1230am and world-wide on the internet on KSBN.net.  Friday night's game with Puget Sound will be carried live on local cable TV channel SWX.

Whitworth heads into the weekend with a 16-3 overall record, 9-1 in the NWC, after winning at George Fox and Lewis & Clark last weekend.  The Pirates are two games ahead of Whitman (7-3), UPS (7-3) and PLU (7-3) in the conference standings.

Alumni Night: Saturday is Alumni Night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. All Spokane area Alumni and their families are invited to attend the doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran for free. If you did not get your coupon for free admission, please contact the Whitworth Alumni Office at at 509.777.3772 or alumni@whitworth.edu. During halftime of the men's game there will be a reception with complimentary refreshments in the Scotford Fitness Center next to the Fieldhouse. Raffles drawings for alumns will be held throughout the doubleheader.

The Pirates: Whitworth hit 11 of 16 from three-point range in the second half to pull away from George Fox for an 85-66 victory in Newberg, Ore.  Wade Gebbers led the way by scoring 21 of his 24 points after halftime.  He also had five assists.  Idris Lasisi added 15 points, while Felix Friedt posted his tenth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  The Pirates shot 57% (29-51) from the field, 54% (15-28) from three point range to earn their 14th consecutive win over the Bruins.

Whitworth only improved its hot shooting in Saturday night's 79-59 win at Lewis & Clark.  The Pirates spent much of the game above 70% shooting before finishing the game 67% (30-45) from the field and 62% (13-21) from three-point range.  Felix Friedt led four Pirates in double figures with 20 points.  Dustin McConnell scored 12 points and dished five assists, while Mack Larkin posted six assists as Whitworth finished with 20 assists as a team.  The Pirates outrebounded the Pioneers 30-24 while winning their eighth straight game in the series.

National Raking: Whitworth is ranked 10th in this week's D3hoops.com top 25 poll.  The Pirates were ranked 11th in the previous poll. Going back to the 2009-10 season, the Bucs have been ranked in the D3hoops.com top-25 for 30 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.

Stat Leaders: Whitworth ranks first or second as a team in several key NWC statistical categories:
 Team Field Goal % - 48.2 (1st NWC / 27th NCAA DIII)
 Team Free Throw % - 80.3 (1st NWC / 2nd NCAA DIII)
 Points Per Game – 76.1 (2nd NWC)
 3-pointers made per game – 9.2 (1st / 14th NCAA DIII)
 Turnovers per game – 11.8 (2nd NWC / 29th NCAA DIII)
 Assists per game – 13.2 (2nd NWC)

Date

Time

Game

Live Coverage

Feb. 3

8:00 pm

vs. Puget Sound

Live Stats / Live Video

Feb. 4

6:00 pm

vs. Pacific Lutheran

Live Stats / Live Video

The Opponents: The University of Puget Sound is 15-4 overall and 7-3 in the NWC.  The Loggers have bounced back from a three-game losing streak two weeks ago by winning four consecutive games, including last Friday's 85-64 win over Willamette and Saturday's 74-63 win over Pacific – both at home.  Puget Sound leads the NWC in points per game (76.3) and free throws made and attempted.  The Loggers also lead in rebound margin (9.2).  Puget Sound's high-pressure style requires spreading the playing time around to many different players.  Senior forward Anthony Gittens leads the team in scoring average (12.2 ppg) and is second in the NWC in rebounding average (8.2 rpg).  His field goal percentage of 63.3% leads the conference.  Senior forward Kaleb Shelton adds 10.5 points per game.  Whitworth defeated Puget Sound 80-67 in Tacoma on January 7th behind 21 points and 11 rebounds by Felix Friedt.

Pacific Lutheran University heads into a Friday night match up at Whitman with an overall record of 10-9 and a conference mark of 7-3.  The Lutes won a pair of home games last weekend, defeating Linfield 68-53 on Friday night and beating Willamette 89-78 on Saturday night.  PLU leads the conference in taking care of the basketball, averaging 11.1 turnovers per game, thanks in large part to the stellar play of senior point guard James Conti who averages 13.3 points per game and more than four assists per contest.  Balance has been key to the Lutes' success this year and it is demonstrated in the season stats as junior wing Cameron Schilling also averages 13.3 points per game and junior guard Andrew Earnest adds 13.2 points per game.  Schilling is the team's leading rebounder (6.8 rpg) and Earnest is one of the most dangerous three-point shooters in the NWC (42.9% from three-point range).  Six different Pirates reached double figures as Whitworth pulled out a 103-94 double overtime victory at PLU on January 6th.

Rolling On: It's not exactly a streak, but the Bucs have won 69 of their last 76 games, an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 44 of its last 46 – including the four wins from the last two NWC tournaments.

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 108-12 (.900) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 75-5 (.938) 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 from 2009 until this December 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).

 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 (16.8 ppg – 3rd in the NWC), while making 59.6% of his shots from the field (3rd in the NWC). He currently leads the Northwest Conference in rebounding average (9.0).   Friedt devastates opponents by drawing fouls and making free throws.  Not only is he third in the NWC in free throw percentage (81.5%), he has made more free throws (123) than any other player in the league has attempted.  He been named NWC Men's Basketball Student-Athlete of the Week twice – first on December 6th and then on January 10th.  Friedt leads the conference with ten double-doubles this season.  He has 946 career points and will likely become the 22nd player in Whitworth history to surpass the 1,000 career point total.

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.

Wade Leading the Way: Point guard Wade Gebbers is one of Whitworth's leading scorers so far this season, averaging 14.4 points per game (10th in the NWC).  He leads the team in assists per game (3.6), which ranks third in the NWC and he also has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.86-1.  Gebbers leads the league in three-pointers made per game (3.1) and ranks second in the league in three-point percentage (44.6).  He scored a career-high 26 points on January 17th against Whitman.

Last season Gebbers 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 league. 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.

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 16.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. His scoring average is fifth in the NWC and he ranks ninth in the league in three-point percentage (40.0).  He also leads the team in steals (27).  Lasisi scored a season-high 25 points in Whitworth's game against nationally-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater on December 21st.

Instant Ignition: Jack Loofburrow is working his way back into the regular rotation and hit some key baskets in Whitworth's wins at GFU and L&C.  He had been sidelined with a foot injury since early December.   In nine games he has averaged 6.5 points, but he 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 4.4 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 has stepped into that role. Larkin is most often tasked with guarding the opponent's best offensive player. And he has added 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds with 30 assists and 11 steals this season.  Larkin missed four games in early January after suffering a mild concussion in practice.  He returned for the Whitman game.

Four SWX Broadcasts: Friday's game against Puget Sound will be the fourth of four games carried live this season by local cable station SWX. John Fritz will provide play by play, while Mike Peterson gives color commentary. SWX stands for Sports & Weather Right Now and is owned by local NBC affiliate KHQ channel 6. SWX can be seen both over-the-air and through some cable services in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and Yakima viewership areas. In the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, SWX is found on digital channel 6.2, on Comcast channel 115 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho. Click here for a complete list of station numbers throughout the Eastern Washington/North Idaho region.

Coming up Next Week: Following this weekend's games against UPS and PLU, Whitworth will return to Oregon to play at Linfield and Pacific (Ore.) on February 10-11.

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.