December 17, 2012

Whitworth Set for Two More in California

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth will conclude this week's trip to Southern California with a pair of games in Orange, California.  On Tuesday the 11th-ranked Pirates will take on host Chapman University at 6:30 pm.  On Wednesday Whitworth will play Redlands on Chapman's floor at 4:00 pm.

Chapman will provide stats and video for both games.  Click here for live video and live statistics.

The Pirates:   Whitworth opened its trip to California with a 95-66 win at Occidental College on Saturday.  The Pirates punished the Tigers' full-court press in the first half to the tune of 60% shooting from the field and a 48-27 lead at halftime.  Whitworth never let Oxy back into the game in the second half, leading by at least 20 points and opening a margin as large as 36 points at one point.  The Bucs finished 54% (35-65) from the field, despite struggling somewhat from three-point range (4-17, 24%).  Dustin McConnell scored a career-high 20 points, but the Pirates got strong production throughout the lineup.  Robby Douglas came off of the bench for his own career high of 15 points.  Wade Gebbers added 11 points and Zach Payne finished with ten.  George Valle and Adam Wilks led Whitworth with seven rebounds apiece as the Pirates held a 45-38 edge on the boards.  Hank Aldous led the team with four assists and Taylor Farnsworth blocked four shots.  The win was Whitworth's second in three meetings with Occidental and the Pirates' first over the Tigers in Rush Gymnasium.

The Opponents: Chapman University comes into the week 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SCIAC).  The Panthers defeated West Coast Baptist College 81-56 at home on Saturday night.  A pair of promising sophomore guards lead Chapman in scoring this season.  Taylor Hamasaki averages 11.9 points and 2.7 assists per game, while Colin Zaversnick adds 10.4 points and makes 42.4% of his three-point tries.  Senior forward Colin Chadwick adds the inside muscle with averages of 8.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest.  Whitworth and Chapman have played five times since the fall of 2007.  The Panthers won the first meeting (56-53) in November of 2007 and the Pirates have won the last four, including a 58-44 decision played November of 2011 in Pleasanton, California.  The Pirates and Panthers have never played a game in Chapman's Hutton Sports Center.

Redlands is 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the SCIAC heading into a Tuesday game with NWC-member Willamette at Chapman.  The Bulldogs are off to a strong start in search of their second SCIAC title in the last three seasons.  Redlands plays an up-tempo style and averages more than 90 points per game with five players posting more than 10 points per contest.  Senior guard Tristan Kirk leads the team in scoring at 13.9 ppg.  Senior forward Josiah Brensdal adds 11.5 points and 7.8 boards per game.  Junior guard Ricky Peetz is making 50% of his three-point tries on a high volume of shots and averages 10.1 points per game.  Whitworth and Redlands have played twice in the last decade, both times at the Bulldogs' Lee Fulmer Classic.  The Pirates have won both – 120-86 in December of 2002 and 93-58 in December of 2007.  Whitworth returned to the Lee Fulmer Classic in 2008, but did not meet Redlands in that tournament.

National Raking: Whitworth moved up two more spots in this week's D3hoops.com top-25 poll.  The Pirates are 11th, a season high, after coming in at 13th last week. Going back to the 2009-10 season, Whitworth has been ranked in the D3hoops.com top-25 for 39 consecutive polls.

NWC Leaders:  Whitworth leadsthe Northwest Conference, or ranks second, this season in several team statistical categories.  To the Pirates' credit, those statistical rankings come on both ends of the floor.  They include:
1st - Defensive Points Per Game:  60.1
1st - Opponent FG%: 37.1
1st - Opponent 3-pt%: 26.0
1st - Team FG%: 47.8
2nd - Fewest Turnovers per game: 12.4
2nd – Team FT%: 72.3
2nd – Team Points Per Game: 74.6

NWC Favorites: Whitworth was picked first in the Northwest Conference preseason coaches poll.  The Pirates picked up seven of nine first place votes and 70 total points.  Whitman was second in the poll with two first place votes and 54 points.

Four SWX Broadcasts: Local cable station SWX will carry four Whitworth men's basketball games live this season: Dec. 8 vs. Puget Sound; Dec. 22 vs. Simpson; Jan. 18 vs. Willamette; and Feb. 1 vs. Lewis & Clark. 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.

Team Captains: The members of the Whitworth basketball team and coaching staff have voted Wade Gebbers, Mack Larkin and Zach Payne as team captains for the 2012-13 season.  It is the second season in a row that Gebbers has been voted as a team captain.

Twenty for Seven: Whitworth extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to seven in a row in 2011-12.  Prior to this current streak, the most 20-win seasons in a row the Pirates had ever had was two (on three different occasions).

Rolling On: The Bucs have won 85 of their last 94 games, an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 54 of its last 56 – including the six wins from the last three 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 117-13 (.900) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 84-6 (.933) at home. During the decade of the 1990s the Pirates won more than 80% of their games played at home.

The Pirates have had two home-court winning streaks of more than 40 games since 1990.  A 41-game home court winning streak from early 2009 until December of 2011 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.

Road Warriors: As good as Whitworth is at home, the Pirates have been even better away from the Whitworth Fieldhouse in the last two seasons.  Since the start of the 11-12 season, Whitworth is 16-2 away from home, 10-0 in true road games.

Wade Leading the Way: Point guard Wade Gebbers is the heart that drives the Pirate engine on the basketball floor.  He has battled through persistent injuries this season to average 9.0 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Gebbers earned Second Team All-Northwest Conference last season after averaging 12.8 points per game.  He led the team in assists per game (3.5), which ranked third in the NWC.  Gebbers led the league in three-pointers made per game (2.8) and ranked third in the league in three-point percentage (42.1).  He scored a career-high 26 points on January 17th against Whitman.

In 2010-11 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.

The 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). Now Mack Larkin has stepped into that role. Larkin is most often tasked with guarding the opponent's best offensive player. So far this season he has averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while making 53% of his shots from the field and 43% from three-point range.  But even beyond the obvious statistics, further analysis shows that Larkin leads all Pirates in plus-minus (+11) when he is on the floor.

Last season he averaged 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds with 39 assists and 19 steals, despite missing four games in early January after suffering a mild concussion in practice. 

Driving Mr. Dusty: Dustin McConnell is dangerous from three-point range, making better than 35% of his shots from beyond the arc this season.  But he is even harder on opposing defenses with his hard drives to the basket, often getting the shot to go down while drawing a foul.  So far this season he is averaging 12.0 points, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.  He had a career-high 20 points in Whitworth's win at Occidental (Dec. 15).

He ended up with a 7.7 scoring average last winter after taking over as a starter eight games into the season.  He made 38% of his attempts from three-point range.

Frosh Phenom: George Valle has already made a huge impact in his first season with the Pirates.  He leads the team in scoring average (13.6 ppg) and has made 59% of his shots from the field.  He is one of the team's best defenders as well, ranking second on the team in steals.  He has already been selected as a Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the Week in men's basketball (Dec. 4).  His career-high is 23 points in the win at Montana Tech.

Mr. Reliable: Colton McCargar does everything asked of him, whether he is in the starting lineup or the first player off of the bench.  He is averaging 10.3 points and adds 4.7 rebounds per game.  He is making almost 39% of his three-point tries so far this season.  He scored a career-high 18 points in the win over Puget Sound (Dec. 8).

Coming up this Week: Whitworth will host Simpson College on Saturday, December 22nd in the team's final contest before the Christmas break.  The game will be free to the public at 7:00 pm.

The Coach: Matt Logie led Whitworth to a 26-4 record in 2011-12, his first season as coach of the Pirates.  He was also selected as the NWC Coach of the Year by his peers after directing the Pirates to a 15-1 conference mark and their sixth straight NWC tournament championship.

Logie 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.

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