WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Idris Lasisi scored a career-high 27 points to lead 10th-ranked Whitworth to an 81-74 win at Whitman College on Tuesday night in what may be a preview of an upcoming matchup in the Northwest Conference men's basketball tournament.
The Pirates, who had already clinched the 2012 NWC championship and the top seed in the conference playoffs, improved to 21-3 overall and 14-1 in the NWC. The Missionaries fell to 17-7, 10-5 and will likely now be the third seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Lasisi's three-pointer from the corner with less than a minute to play in the game stymied a frantic Whitman rally and gave Whitworth a 77-71 lead that could not be overcome.
Whitworth stormed out early, taking an 11-4 lead after back to back three-pointers by Wade Gebbers. Lasisi hit a jumper to give the Pirates a 19-16 lead after Whitman had pulled within a point. But then the Missionaries took over the contest, outscoring the Bucs 11-0 over the next four minutes to take their largest lead of the game at 27-19. However Whitworth recovered to outscore Whitman 19-9 over the final six minutes, taking a 38-36 lead into halftime.
Whitworth outscored Whitman 8-2 to start the second half, taking a 46-38 lead on a three-pointer by Mack Larkin, and the Pirates would never trail after halftime.
Colton McCargar's three-pointer gave the Pirates a 59-50 advantage and then Whitworth took its largest lead (66-55) following Lasisi's three-pointer with just over six minutes to play.
But as it did in last year's win over on undefeated Whitworth team, Whitman put on a furious rally at the end of the game. Ignas Pavilonis nailed back to back three-pointers to pull the Missionaries to within three points (74-71) with a little over a minute left. But then Lasisi answered with his three-pointer from the corner, ending the Whitman rally.
Lasisi's 27 points topped his previous career high of 25 points set earlier this season against Wisconsin-Whitewater. He made 10-16 from the field and also dished a team-high five assists. McConnell added 14 points, while Gebbers finished with 11. Larkin and Jack Loofburrow both scored ten.
Felix Friedt was held to five points, but it was enough to make him the 22nd player in Whitworth history to surpass 1,000 career points. He now has 1,002. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Whitworth hit 53% (27-51) of its shots from the field, 68% (15-22) in the second half.
David Michaels posted 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead Whitman. Pavilonis finished with 11 points. Whitman made just under 40% (23-58) from the field, 19% (5-27) from three-point range.
Whitworth will finish the regular season on Saturday night against Willamette University at 8:00 p.m. Whitworth will recognize seniors Friedt, Loofburrow, Lasisi and Michael Taylor prior to tipoff.