Balanced Scoring Lifts #9 Whitworth Over Linfield

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Seven different Whitworth players hit double figures as the 9th-ranked Pirates won 95-67 at Linfield in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Friday night at Ted Wilson Gym.

The Pirates improved to 19-3 overall and 12-1 in the NWC, clinching at least a tie for their third straight regular season conference championship.  The Wildcats fell to 4-18, 2-11.

Colton McCargar came off of the bench for a career-high 15 points and Idris Lasisi also scored 15 points in the balanced Pirate attack.  Jack Loofburrow and Mack Larkin each tallied 13 points, while Felix Friedt, Dustin McConnell and Austin Ehlo all scored 10 points.

Whitworth shot 62% (36-58) from the field in the game, and was over 60% in each half.  The Bucs were nearly as hot from three-point range, making 61% (16-26) from beyond the arc.  McCargar scored all 15 of his points from three-point range as he hit 5-7 treys.

Whitworth trailed only once, 4-2, and then quickly jumped to a 13-4 lead as Wade Gebbers hit two threes and Mark Larkin added a trey.  The Pirates never trailed again.  Friedt's three-point play gave the Bucs their first double digit lead (45-33) just before halftime and Whitworth went to the locker rooms with a 46-35 advantage.

It was a far-cry from the teams' first meeting of the season in Spokane when the Pirates trailed the Wildcats by seven points at halftime and had to scramble for a four-point win.

Larkin converted a three-point play two minutes into the second half for a 54-38 Pirate lead.  The Bucs stretched the advantage to 74-55 midway through the half on a basket by McConnell.  Ehlo came off of the bench and sparked Whitworth to its largest leads of the game by scoring all ten of his points in the final four minutes.

The only Pirate player to score and not hit double digits was Gebbers, who finished with nine.  He had been the Bucs' leader in scoring average over the last 10 games.

Whitworth outrebounded Linfield 28-21 and forced a dozen Wildcat turnovers while committing only six.

Zach Anderson, the NWC scoring leader this season, led Linfield with 24 points.  Andrew Batiuk added a dozen points for the Wildcats.

The Pirates now have a chance to clinch the outright regular season title and the top-seed in the upcoming NWC tournament with a win at Pacific (Ore.) on Saturday night.

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