TACOMA, Wash. – Whitworth University opened the 2013-14 men's basketball season with an impressive 71-53 win over Trinity (Texas) on Friday night in a game played at the University of Puget Sound.
The Pirates (1-0) are ranked 12th in the D3hoops.com preseason poll. The Tigers (0-1) return four starters from a team that made the NCAA Division III tournament last year.
Whitworth never trailed, jumping to a quick 5-0 lead on baskets by Kenny Love and George Valle. Whitworth took its first double-digit lead at 23-11 on a three-pointer by Christian Jurlina 11:34 into the first half. The Pirates led 38-24 at halftime following Jurlina's layup with five seconds to go in the opening period.
Whitworth quickly extended the lead to 47-27 early in the second half following a layup by Taylor Farnsworth. Trinity closed to within 48-34 with 13:20 to play on a basket by John LaVanway. But Whitworth regained momentum and led 57-36 after another basket by Jurlina. Austin Wood's driving layup with 2:23 to go gave the Pirates their largest lead of the game (71-48).
Love led four Whitworth players in double figures with 15 points and he added six assists and two steals. Jurlina finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Farnsworth, who battled foul trouble throughout, still scored 10 points (on 5-5 shooting) in 16 minutes of play. Adam Wilks came off of the bench for Farnsworth and also had 10 points. Whitworth hit 44.8% of its shots from the field, only 32% from three-point range.
Robert Kitzinger was the only Tiger in double figures with 11 points. The Pirate defense limited Trinity to 37.9% shooting from the field, 22.2% from three-point range. Whitworth forced 13 TU turnovers.
The Pirates are off until next Friday when Whitworth hosts SUNY-Old Westbury as part of the Quality Inn Oakwood Classic. Trinity stays at Puget Sound to battle Pacific Lutheran on Saturday and the host Loggers on Sunday.