SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth will officially open the 2013-14 men's basketball season on Friday night when the Pirates play Trinity University (Texas) as part of the Doug McArthur Classic at the University of Puget Sound. The game will tip off at 6:00 pm.
Watch the men's basketball schedule for other live links to this weekend's games.
The Pirates: Whitworth comes into the season ranked 12th in the D3hoops.com preseason top-25 poll. The Pirates return several key players from a team that went 26-4 in 2012-13. The Bucs won the Northwest Conference with a 14-2 record, earned their seventh straight NWC tournament crown and advanced to the NCAA Division III round of 16 for the fifth time in school history (where the team fell to eventual championship-game participant Mary Hardin-Baylor). Whitworth finished 11th in last year's final D3hoops.com top-25 poll.
First Team All-NWC guard Dustin McConnell returns. He averaged a team-high 13.7 points per game last season. Second Team All-NWC guard Colton McCarger is also back. McCargar averaged 13.0 points per game and earned All-NWC honors despite coming off of the bench last winter. George Valle, a sophomore who averaged 12.3 points per contest, returns as a starting forward. Those were the top three scorers for Whitworth a year ago. In addition, Taylor Farnsworth returns as the Pirates' starting center. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Robby Douglas, Adam Wilkes, and Brandon Loiler all were contributors off of the bench last season.
Added to that veteran mix is a talented incoming class of freshmen. Point guards Kenny Love and Austin Wood, swingman Christian Jurlina, post Drew Sears and shooting guard Kionte Brown have all seen action in preseason scrimmages.
The Opponents: Trinity, under 15th-year Head Coach Pat Cunningham, will have four returning starters in 2013-14. Last season the Tigers went 20-8 and won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season title with a 12-3 record. Trinity won its second consecutive SCAC Tournament Championship (the sixth under Cunningham), with a 60-55 overtime victory over Colorado College. The Tigers fell to Concordia (Texas) in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament. Senior forward Zach Lambert averaged 15.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 2012-13, earning First All-SCAC honors. Senior guard Robert Kitzinger presents a brutal match-up problem at 6'-7". He averaged 10.4 points and made nearly 40% of his three-pointers last season. Junior point guard William Young was the only Tiger to start all 28 games last season and he averaged 4.3 assists per game. The last meeting between Whitworth and Trinity occurred in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III tournament. The Pirates pulled out a 64-53 victory.
National Ranking: Whitworth is ranked 12thin the D3hoops.com preseason top-25 poll. Going back to the 2009-10 season, Whitworth has been ranked in the D3hoops.com top-25 for 51 consecutive polls.
NWC Coaches Poll: Northwest Conference men's basketball coaches have picked Whitworth as the league favorite for the 2013-14 season, according to the NWC preseason poll released by the conference office. The Pirates, who are aiming for an unprecedented fifth straight NWC title, received seven of nine first place votes and 70 points in the poll. Whitman, last season's NWC runner-up, is second in the poll with two first place votes and 58 points.
Back on KSBN: Local radio station KSBN (1230am) will carry nearly all regular season Pirate games in 2013-14, and any post-season contests. The only games not on KSBN this year are Nov. 15 vs. Trinity, Dec. 7 vs. UC Santa Cruz and Dec. 16 vs. Southwestern. The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 20 years. Bob Castle, whose voice has become synonymous with Whitworth athletics on the radio, is back as the voice of the Pirates in 2013-14. Bob has called Whitworth games for the past 13 seasons, as well as in 1997-98. Bob has more than 20 years in radio and his experience as a sports broadcaster includes stints as the voice of Spokane Indians Baseball, Gonzaga University baseball and Washington State women's basketball.
Team Captains: The members of the Whitworth basketball team and coaching staff have voted Dustin McConnell, Colton McCargar, Robby Douglas, and Taylor Farnsworth as team captains for the 2013-14 season.
20-Nine is Fine?: Last winter Whitworth extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to eight in a row and the Pirates hope to make it nine in a row in 2013-14. 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 Pirates have won 105 of their last 116 games, an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level. Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 68 of its last 72 – including the eight wins from the last four 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 128-15 (.895) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Since the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 95-8 (.922) 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 Matt Logie's tenure as head coach. Since the start of the 11-12 season, Whitworth is 23-3 away from home, 16-1 in true road games.
Dustin the Wind: Dustin McConnell often leaves opposing defenders in the dust with his hard drives to the basket, often getting the shot to go down while drawing a foul. In 2012-13 he scored a team-best 13.7 points and added 3.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. He had a career-high 24 points in Whitworth's win over Whitman on January 8th and had 23 points in the win over Willamette (Jan. 18th) and was named First Team All-NWC.
He ended up with a 7.7 scoring average in 2011-12 after taking over as a starter eight games into the season. He made 38% of his attempts from three-point range.
Mr. Reliable: Colton McCargar does everything asked of him throughout his Pirate career. His role as Whitworth's sixth-man in 2012-13 led to a Second Team All-NWC selection when he averaged 13.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He made 45% of his three-point tries last season, which ranked fourth in the NWC. He scored a career-high 26 points in the NCAA second round win over Emory.
Great George: George Valle made a huge impact in his first season with the Pirates. He was third on the team in scoring average (12.3 ppg) and made 51% of his shots from the field. His career-high is 30 points in the win at Linfield and he scored the game-winning basket and free throw at George Fox on January 11th. If he continues on the pace he set as a freshman, Valle has a chance to finish among the top career scorers in Whitworth history.
Taylor Proves His Worth: Taylor Farnsworth grew into his role as the Pirates' starting post player last season, leading the team by a wide margin in blocked shots (23). He averaged 9.7 ppg and 5.2 rpg, earning honorable mention All-NWC. He scored a career-high 29 points in the win at Pacific (Jan. 4).
Coming up next Week: Whitworth will host the Quality Inn Oakwood Classic on November 22nd and 23rd. The Pirates will take on Old Westbury on Friday night, then Colorado College on Saturday. Both games are scheduled to tip off at 8:00 pm. The University of Puget Sound is the fourth team in the classic-format event.
The Coach: Matt Logie has led Whitworth to back-to-back 26-4 records in his first two seasons as coach of the Pirates. He was 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 in 2011-12, his first year as Whitworth's head coach. He is 33-3 in the NWC, counting each of the last two conference tournaments.
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.