LOS ANGELES – Dustin McConnell scored 20 points to lead visiting Whitworth to a 95-66 win at Occidental College on Saturday night at Rush Gymnasium.
Four players reached double figures for the 13th-ranked Pirates (6-1), led by McConnell's career-high 20 points.
The Tigers (2-5) came out quickly, grabbing a 7-2 lead on a layup by David Yetenikyan. But Whitworth came back to tie the game 9-9 on a three-pointer by Wade Gebbers. The Pirates pulled away from an 11-11 tie with a 17-2 run, which included two more three-pointers by Gebbers, to take a 28-13 lead. Occidental fought back to get within 36-27 on a three-point play by Deshun McCoy with 5:53 left. Then the Bucs outscored the Tigers 12-0 over the rest of the half to take a 48-27 lead into the locker rooms.
The Pirates made 60% (21-35) of their shots in the first half while holding Oxy to 27% (8-30).
Whitworth scored the first five points of the second half, including a three-point play by Taylor Farnsworth, and the Pirates never led by less than 20 points the rest of the way. The lead reached 30 points (71-41) for the first time on a Robby Douglas free throw with just under ten minutes to play. Two more Douglas free throws gave Whitworth its largest lead of the game (87-51) with 3:31 to go.
McConnell made 7-13 from the field and 5-7 from the free throw line to go along with three assists and two steals. Douglas scored 15 points with three steals and Gebbers finished with 11 points. Zach Payne scored 10, making 5-6 from the field. George Valle and Adam Wilks each grabbed seven rebounds to lead Whitworth to a 45-38 edge on the boards. The Pirates ended the game by making 35-65 (54%) from the field.
The only part of the game in which Whitworth struggled was three-point shooting, where the Bucs went 4-17 (24%).
McCoy led Occidental with 18 points off of the bench, while Ty Cobb finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Tigers finished the game 31% (21-68) from the floor, 23% (7-31) from three-point range.
The win was the Pirates' second in three meetings with Occidental and their first at Rush Gym.
Whitworth will continue its trip to Southern California on Tuesday with a game at Chapman University.