FOREST GROVE, Ore. – For the third season in a row and the fifth time in the last six years, the Whitworth men's basketball team is the champion of the Northwest Conference.
The Pirates clinched the regular season crown with Saturday night's 76-54 win at Pacific University.
Idris Lasisi scored 24 points and Jack Loofburrow came off of the bench for 14 to lead the Pirates, who improved to 20-3 overall and 13-1 in the NWC. Whitworth also clinched its seventh straight 20-win season.
Whitworth took the lead for good when Lasisi's three-pointer gave the Bucs a 9-7 advantage. Lasisi's hard drive to the basket for a layup extended the advantage to 27-17 with just under nine minutes to play in the half and Whitworth began to extend the lead. Lasisi hit a midrange jumper for a 40-22 lead with 4:49 to go in the period and the Pirates would take a 48-25 lead into halftime after Loofburrow hit a long three at the end of the half.
The Pirates hit 64% (18-28) from the field in the first half, including 50% (6-12) from three-point range.
Whitworth put the game away early in the second half by opening a pair of 30-point leads, the first coming when Loofburrow's jumper made the score 59-29 with just over 13 minutes to play. Pacific would cut the lead to 62-43 on a basket by David Berney with 7:32 to go, but Lasisi answered with a three and the Pirates never led by less than 20 points again.
Lasisi finished 9-15 from the field and 4-7 from three-point range for his 24 points. Loofburrow hit 3-4 from long distance. Wade Gebbers scored ten points and dished five assists.
Berney was the only Boxer to reach double figures, finishing with 14 points.
Whitworth has earned home-court advantage throughout the NWC tournament, which will begin with semifinals on February 23rd and conclude with the tournament final on February 25th.
Before that the Pirates will play at Whitman on Tuesday night, then finish out the regular season with a home game against Willamette on February 18th.